Thursday, August 14, 2008

Master of Interruptions

One of my corporate freelance clients sends me work in waves, and right now I’m riding a tsunami of company profiles that just keep coming. So my nearly completed second Detective Jackson manuscript (Secrets to Die For) is languishing, with only an hour dedicated to it each morning—and half of that spent trying to wake up.

The bigger problem is my family members (for whom I am the go-to guy) don’t really get it when I say, “I can’t talk right now, I’m working” or “I can’t give you a ride, I’m on the clock.” They assume that if I’m home—and setting my own hours—I should be flexible enough to accommodate just about anything.

I’m sure thousands of writers have learned to deal with this, and I will too. I’ve only been a full-time freelance for five months. (I did work at home for a magazine for a year, but that’s another blog.) Yesterday, I started screening calls and simply let the phone ring. Then felt so guilty. What if my brother needed me to drive him to the hospital? What if my mother fell down and couldn’t get up? (I checked in late last night and they’re both okay.)

But still, I have another profile to crank out today… and I have to decide how to handle all the interruptions (mine included). I’d love to hear from freelancers who have mastered this situation.

4 comments:

Chris V. said...

I freelance too and use the answering machine. then the telemarketers can reach me later. ha! Unless it's an emergency, don't feel guilty. Tell them you're getting grocery (new shoe, clothes $) ha!

Helen Ginger said...

I think you're doing the right thing. Treat your home office like you would a drive-to office. When you're at work, you don't take chatty phone calls or play computer games, etc. Screen those calls; let the recorder pick up and check the messages on your break. As long as you stick to the rules you set, family and friends will eventually get the message.

Unless I should happen to call -- of course.

zhadi said...

OH my, I went through that when I was doing freelance work at home and trying to write. I had one friend who would NOT leave me alone and would get offended when I didn't answer the phone or said no to whatever it was she wanted at the moment. I screened calls and stuck to my guns. Picked and chose the times I'd break my schedule for friends and family. My family, thankfully, understood better than this particular needy friend.

Echelon Press Publishing said...

I have one word for you... PANERA! WHich now leads me to other words, of course, LOL.

You are WORKING plain and simple. If you were in an office you would not have the luxury of answeering all those to-dos. There are some days I just can't stand to do this at home... like today, hubby is working from home and has been on MY office phone since 8 am. He is talking to lord knows who.

I may end up there yet today. They know me well at my local Panera!

And FREE Internet for your twitter fix. :)

Karen Syed
www.karensyed.blogspot.com