Over at The Freelance Writing Jobs Network, there’s been an interesting little debate raging on about the pros and cons of working over the holidays. The discussion, titled Dear Freelance Writer, When You Were Partying, I Stole Your Client sparked some rather heated comments from readers.
Now, I could be wrong, but I think the poster, Deb Ng, intended to make the point that it might not be wise, in many cases, to count on not taking on any work or making any money during the holiday season. Some writers really depend on the income they generate from their writing, and they can’t afford to miss two or three weeks’ of income. In other cases, there may be clients out there who need people to do work for them, and if one writer’s not available (for whatever reason), they’ll find someone else, and that someone else will get the gig and the paycheck. You know, the old “you snooze, you lose” phenomenon.
My own personal take is that it’s probably not a good idea to completely abandon work as a general rule during the holidays, unless you’ve planned ahead. Planning ahead is key. I think we can all benefit from a vacation here and there. I know I do. And if you can work it out, you can probably find a way to arrange a block of work-free days that allow you to rest and recharge…or, as in my case, run yourself ragged, keeping up with an active preschooler who can barely sit still because he’s SO excited about Christmas. Maybe I can get a little rest in there somewhere, somehow, too.
I know I always refer to the days when I was a full-time writer of the regular paycheck persuasion, and here I go again. When I was part of the education team at The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, my partner Chris and I usually spent the whole month prior to the winter holidays preparing stories we could work on while the schools were out of session. It wasn’t like we could just go pop into the elementary school down the street on Dec. 23. and ask what was going on. So we prepared a plan. We came up with story ideas, contacted our sources, did some interviews, arranged to meet up with some people over the holidays, and generally sketched out a list of enough stories to fill the education part of the paper from mid-December through early January.
And hopefully I can rely on the same type of planning to get through the holidays as a freelance writer. Maybe I won’t get a lot of assignments from here ’til the end of the year. Maybe I won’t get any new ones. Does that mean I can’t work on future projects? Nope. Ideally, I hope to be able to get some work done on a couple of long-term projects that I have on my to-do list, and I hope to at least be able to sketch out some plans for stories to pitch to other publications. True, that may or may not net me any immediate money, but at least it will keep me moving forward.
Now…anyone got any good story ideas I could pitch to someone somewhere?