enjoying the flexibility of freelance

Sure, I had 346 unread e-mails in my inbox and had plenty of work to do. But I wasn’t about to refuse an invitation to spend the afternoon with a couple of girlfriends in the sunshine at Winnipeg Beach when the unexpected opportunity arose. We’ve had far too much rain this summer to spend the nice days sitting in front of a computer.

That’s definitely one of the many pleasures of being a freelance writer and author. You have control over your time, and if you choose your clients, projects and assignments wisely, you’ll be able to enjoy that same level of flexibility in your own writing life.

I learned long ago that life is far too short to put aside pleasures incase of a “rainy day.” (i.e. unforeseen expenses.)

My parents were always denying themselves simple pleasures and saving for that rainy day. Unfortunately for my mother, it never rained. She died from cancer at the young age of 55 and never had the opportunity or pleasure of enjoying the fruits of her labour. She was always working (at home chores such as managing several garden plots, preserving, freezing and canning the produce, sewing all our clothes, cooking, cleaning) and finding ways to stretch the tiny household budget allowed her by my father.

I had the pleasure of spending last Sunday at a family reunion with three of my mother’s cousins who have managed to outlive my mother by more than 40 years. They seem to have found the fountain of youth, as pictured below from left to right are Rose (93), Mary (who I believe is about 90) and Christine who is 85.

These ladies all worked hard during their lifetimes, working their farms and raising their families in Manitoba’s Interlake. But they had the good fortune, health or insights to balance work and play, responsibilities and good times and they’re still here today to tell the tale. I’m looking forward to reading their life stories that one of my cousins is compiling into a book.

Which brings me full circle to the theme of this week’s post. When is the last time you put work aside to spend with friends or family? Have you denied yourself too many pleasures because you are saving for that rainy day? I hope not, because life is just too short to miss out on that lunch or holiday with friends, that latté in the limelight, that self-indulgent moment of pleasure.

(that’s me on the right, with Patricia (left) and Mae (centre) — 3 gal pals from Toastmasters.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

11 Responses

  1. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks, Christine & Jay. Always wonderful to hear from you both.

    I am SO loving our online community.

  2. Jay Remer says:

    Thanks, Doreen. This is a wonderful essay. I think taking time to smell the roses is so essential that in my workshops I suggest scheduling it if necessary! Warm regards, Jay

  3. Christine Peets says:

    You've made the choice to freelance and have to take all of the challenges that entails. Sometimes there are perks like this, and that makes it all worthwhile.
    Good for you for putting the true meaning of carpe diem into practice.

  4. wizardofwords says:

    Right on, Allison! We've got to be creative in order to make it work. Sounds like you're on the right track to find that balance that Grace also mentions. Balance and moderation are definitely the key to success and happiness.

  5. Grace Cherian says:

    Thanks, Doreen, for reinforcing my belief that I must balance work and play!

  6. Allison says:

    I love the flexibility of freelancing!

    Last week, I relocated my office to the beach. It was one of the hottest weeks this summer and while so many sweltered in the city, I enjoyed the cool ocean breeze while I worked at my picnic table office.

    I am truly thankful to live the life of a freelancer!

  7. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks, Joanne. The 3 lovelies in the top pic are my mother's first cousins – so my "first cousins once-removed" according to my brother, the genealogy expert in the family. If my mother were alive today she's be 96, so their contemporary.

    And don't discount your youthful appearance (as readers can attest to by viewing the 3rd pic in the June 8th post on this blog.) You look great!

  8. Joanne says:

    Loved this post, Doreen. Your three aunts are amazing! (And frankly, they may look younger than I do, some 35 years younger.) Do keep us posted about the book your cousin is writing. And tell your aunts how much they've been appreciated by readers of your blog!

  9. wizardofwords says:

    Sounds wonderful, Amanda. The key, indeed, is to find the formula that works best with our lifestyles, needs and desires. Sounds like you've done that.

    And thanks, also, to Virginia, for reaffirming the fact that we have the same work ethic. It's all about balance, isn't it?

  10. Amanda Lerougetel says:

    I'm with you, Doreen! While time management as a freelancer doesn't always work out perfectly, the only way to survive this form of work is to take charge and say NO! every now and again – no to work, that is, and YES! to fun. In July and August, I'm trying to squeeze all my work into three days each week, so that I can enjoy four days at the cottage. I can't afford an away-vacation, but I can certainly arrange my time this way to enjoy an ongoing more-off-than-on at-the-cottage vacation!

  11. Virginia Heffernan says:

    There you go reading my mind again, Doreen.

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