My mum & dad obviously did a good job in dragging me up as (for an only child) I’m a great believer in sharing. I’ve often thought that if hard cash were not the currency of choice in our modern world then I’d happily do what I do for free – *Pauses* – Let’s be absolutely clear here, I don’t do what I do for free but neither am I so miserly that I’d refuse even to talk to someone unless I thought there was ‘something in it for me’.
I’ve talked before about my ‘working arrangements’ and the upshot of this style is that I’m often working when sensible folk are catching up on Sky+ / Facebook / Twitter / the pile of books on their bedside table (delete as…). Those who know me well will argue that I manage to put in a fair shift on FB/Twitter but that’s more to do with typing speed and availability of iPhone than commitment to the cause.
Working at night is a strange one, being freelance already places you in that vortex of self reliance, often paralysed by the absence of ‘water cooler’ moments to gain perspective. Someone much more talented than me put it perfectly this week (on Twitter) RT @susanorlean “Being a writer requires an awkward balance of utter confidence and abject insecurity. Both necessary, neither sufficient.” followed up with RT @susanorlean “You do need the nerve to think you have something to say, but also the humility to listen, and the neediness to want to be heard.” So, so true and somehow working antisocial hours makes you feel even more of a pariah in social / business commentary terms, which is why I have to work hard to develop skills that keep me current and relevant and useful on the 2009/10 marketing communications tour.
Ultimately for me, it comes down to two things:-
I work from home. Mainly for time of life reasons – school and pre school children, EU guilt mountain at the very idea of all day childcare and procrastination about the idea of getting a ‘proper job’. Fair enough I do run my own business, complete with tax and VAT returns, but I’m fitting it in jigsaw-like or rather shoe-horn like to make it work with our family life. It was my birthday this week, not a significant zero-type number, but another year passing that I’m not out there focusing on world domination rather than making failing attempts to be a domestic goddess. It’s got me thinking about choices and motivation and whether my choices are more to do with my lack of it.
I mostly revel in being on the periphery of a business, looking in with eyes unfettered by politics and gossip and withdrawing to write clear, uncomplicated copy on the issues of the day. I return to my home office after a day spent interviewing and researching full of enthusiasm and ideas that charge around my head desperate to be committed to the hard drive and, if I manage to avoid the twin perils of Twitter and Facebook, that first hour in front of the mac is amazingly productive.. but if the motivation to work on after a long day out wanes…..