It's been a while since I last posted 'in the open', and that was to announce that I was boarding the mythical freelance albatross. Well, I'm aboard that same albatross. And slightly lost in this metaphor, although I brought that on myself.
A few things have happened since my last update. I've booked my driving test for a secret point in time, known only to about five people worldwide. I'm quite keen to pass, as I suppose most people are when they have these tests. I spent the first week of April back in the Midlands with the family, and the second week in Sweden with Little Rhian and Pelle, which was as fantastic as ever. I've also been doing quite a bit of gardening:
(your humble author exhibiting a fondness for putting food out for the birds from an early age)
Also, I moved house! I decided to move house on my very last day of work, because it's always fun to test the stress levels. I didn't really decide that, to be honest, it was just the way things worked out. I'm only a few doors down from where I was, and while it's not gone TOTALLY smoothly, and there's a lot that I want to be sorted out still, I think I'm glad I did it. I was fond of my last place in a strange way, and a bit sad to leave, but it made sense to move somewhere bigger given that I'm working from home. I KIND of have a separate office, although my generally poor life organisation skills have meant that the system is more like two office-bedrooms than one office and one bedroom. But that's not really a problem.
Work-wise, my first week and a half went exactly the way I'd hoped. I got back from Sweden on 14th, fully expecting to spend the next few days feeling sad about not being in Sweden. But my moping had to be postponed, because I ended up with enough work to last several days. Things quietened down a bit last Friday, but I wasn't too daunted, because a quiet Friday afternoon is something I'd usually welcome.
However, the next Monday, and indeed most days this week so far have been pretty quiet, and it was here that I learnt my first lesson as a freelancer, namely not to totally freak out if you don't always have work. I think it was disconcerting because it was a Monday morning, I'd been fully expecting to work…and there was no work there. I didn't really have a back-up plan, so stared at my inbox in distress for some hours. I came to realise this isn't a healthy way of doing things. So for the time being, I'm keeping a list of 'downtime activities' – stuff I can do that's actually productive (so not playing computer games, which I've decided isn't allowed until after 5pm during the working week), but which I can interrupt if work comes in. So far it includes unpacking from the move (still ongoing, no fun at all), cleaning the house, learning Swedish on Duolingo and taking short walks. I've set myself seemingly random rules – I'm allowed to stay in my pyjamas until the first coffee of the day, but after that I really have to get dressed. I have to leave the house for at least half an hour, at least once each day. If I end up working on a translation really late, I'm allowed to take myself out for lunch at a local cafe later on in the week. I'm hoping these rules will preserve some sanity.
Aside from getting used to the ebb and flow of work being much more noticeable, I've found the other big change is weighing up all the various factors: how much work to take on, for how much money, and of course the type of work. There's a lot to consider – you want to avoid very low rates, but sometimes you have to compromise because there's also the matter of 'bills' and 'food'. Taking on more work equals more money, but then if you overload yourself, it'll have an impact on quality, which would be especially unwise for a newbie like me. It's a similar idea with type of work – how far is it wise to stray from your comfort zone? And what even is a comfort zone? In an ideal world, I'd only be sent translations about things I know about like u-boats and gardening, but obviously, that can't happen. So I think it's a case of finding a middle ground. I'm translating far fewer words per day than I know I can, because I want to make sure that what I do is of decent quality. I'm also enjoying asking other freelancers for help about all the stuff I'm unsure of.
ANYWAY TO CONCLUDE: it's going well so far, some things have worked out as I'd planned, others really haven't, but overall I think I'm a happy potato.