One of the filthy secrets of freelancing is that a freelancer never quite totally completely feels fully free.
There's no such thing as "paid time off," and no matter how many mental calisthenics you do to tell yourself you deserve the afternoon round of golf, a nagging feeling follows you for the first few holes: I should probably be doing more.
Which means you have to impose your own version of the personal day, the sick day, the mental health day or just the fuck-it-I'm-playing-hookey day.
The best idea I've seen lately for doing this on a regular, firm and institutional basis is the bright blue note at the bottom of the e-mail autosignature of a new Murrespondent, the freelance writer and editor Clare C. McDermott.
• Please note: I do not work on Mondays.
Now, I'm fine with working on Mondays. In fact, I find that I go completely crazy if I try to do anything else on a Monday. Working on Monday is for getting a jump on the week, and keeping the week from getting a jump on you.
Nor do I want or need to take off every Friday, or any other day of the week. But I do want to officially assert my right to keep the "free" in freelance.
So I'm thinking of other Please note, that I might write, for my patrons:
• Please note: My lunches are two-hour sessions, because they usually include a workout before, and a short nap after.
• Please note: I work in the mornings. Jesus, do I work in the mornings! Because at Murray's Freelance Writing we have no meetings or dumb HR procedures or fat-chewing marplots, I get more real work done before noon on Monday than most people do all week. So in the afternoons if the weather's good, I'm often out golfing, or tearing around town on my motorcycle or hanging out with my daughter in order to refresh my spirit sufficiently to work like a wolverine again tomorrow morning. Talk then!
• Please note: Though writing is important, it is not an emergency. Talk to you tomorrow.
Writers, what Gone Fishin' sign would put up for your clients?