Most of us decide to freelance because we like the idea of embracing our spontaneous side. I love the thought that I can really work anywhere in the world, at any time of the day or night, writing when the creative urge takes hold and focusing on my family when they need me most. But one of the first steps to freedom is, contrarily, being really organized.
I learned this the hard way: My laptop charger died a sudden and sparkly death recently, and my freelance writing career ground to a halt. Suddenly, I realised that I had no idea what the web addresses were for sites that I had to post to. My temping online time sheet was lost in the sub-ether. I don’t even know how to get my bt email properly if I’m not on my own laptop! So yes, I could have used another computer to type, but where would I send the work?
Luckily, I could still communicate via my blackberry… “Aaargh, sorry, cannot do anything this week, ordering new laptop charger now!”
Professional, no? Good thing I’m not trying to run a business here.
It is so important to have a backup plan. I’m usually pretty organized, but I had underestimated the importance of keeping a record of web addresses, logins and online ‘things to do’ in case of total laptop failure. The first thing I did when I got my new charger was to create a document with my bookmarks, login information (NOT including passwords) and a list of important things to check out. I saved this to a memory stick and put it in a safe place. Then I printed a copy, and put it in ANOTHER safe place.
I’m going on holiday soon, into the rainforest of Trinidad, and all I need to take for remote working is my memory stick. I’ll tuck it into my camera bag along with extra camera battery packs, because this trip is more about photography and general awesomeness than writing. When I get to a computer with an internet connection, I will stick my memory stick in, and voilà! All my bookmarks, everything I need to continue working while the mosquitoes bite and the rain (probably) drips into my camera. The kids are coming with me. An adventure!
If you never hear from us again, send a search party! We’ll be floating down a river somewhere on a waterproof camera bag, whacking mosquitoes with my memory stick and wishing we’d thought to bring some sandwiches.
Photo: Chas Sheppard