Work has been keeping me nice and busy this past couple of months. I'm still astonished that I've had so much sent my way from the moment I started freelancing. I'm not at full capacity by any means, but I've been lucky enough to nab a couple of lovely regular clients, plus there's a big job on the horizon in the autumn that's really going to put me through my paces. I'm looking forward to it.
I love the variety of stuff I'm getting to write, and I love never knowing what weird or wonderful request might pop into my inbox next. I love working from home too, and being totally divorced from any office politics. The more I work for myself, the more I wonder why I didn't make the leap years ago.
It's funny, though. The perception of working freelance is very different to the reality. I remember how, years ago, me and my fabulous then-boss Graham used to bang on about how we'd go freelance one day and we'd be just like Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City. From what I recall, we believed it would be all long lunches and laptops at Soho House. And between writing terribly clever articles for terribly glamorous magazines, we'd manage to squeeze in the time to carefully craft the first drafts of our great Rock 'n Roll novels.
I've got to be honest, my freelance life doesn't look *quite* like that. What actually happens (at the moment, at least, with our childminder on holiday for the summer) is that I barricade myself in the kitchen in the morning and try to concentrate on work for as long as I can before Samuel breaks in howling and James comes to retrieve him, sometimes by the ankles. This happens repeatedly. Then, once Samuel is happily engaged in another activity or whisked off up to the park, the cat tends to come in and create a stink in her litter tray. I sigh and think of Soho House.
By early afternoon the glare of the sun has chased me across the kitchen to the extent that only place I can see my screen is when it's resting on the high chair, so I relocate into the living room while Samuel and James nap. Once they're up again and the sun has shifted once more, I make the sofa in Samuel's room my refuge. At some point before dinner time, a serious nappy change will be required right in front of my 'desk'. You don't get that in an open office environment.
But, nappy changes and litter trays aside, I'm enjoying freelancing immensely. One of the big benefits, of course, is being able to bugger off and do something fun on the days when I've got no work on. That's exactly what we did on Tuesday when we went to the zoo in Battersea Park. The weather was scorchio and the animals were out in force. Not that Samuel cared about the animals too much - he just wanted to climb up slides the wrong way and no amount of, 'Look, Samuel! Monkeys!' or, 'Look, Samuel! Lemurs!' was going to change his mind on that. He did, however, acquiesce and join me in the tunnel that leads you to a plastic bubble in the middle of the meerkat enclosure. As you'll see from the photo, I was way more excited than him. But, with me as a mother, there's no way he's going to be able to stay that indifferent towards meerkats.