In January, I went from hectic insanity at Macworld Expo to the absolute calm of recuperating at my mom’s farm near Dixon, CA, anticipating a busy winter. I didn’t know at the time that my work schedule would be turned upside down.
One thing I’ve learned as a freelance book author is that you can’t count on anything: royalties, for example, must be viewed as gravy, not essential income. I’ve written books that sold well, books that sold poorly, and books that started selling well and then nosedived. That said, it was a pretty fair bet that when Apple announced iLife ’06 with iMovie HD 6 and iDVD 6 I would be updating my iMovie/iDVD Visual QuickStart Guide.
The days passed and I didn’t hear anything from Peachpit. And I had to stop and take stock of what was on my plate: if I didn’t write the book, what would I do to make up for the income that I was (foolishly?) expecting. I don’t want to sound like I stared down an abyss or anything so dramatic, but when you’re a full-time freelancer with a mortgage and bills, it can be a bit of a scramble to line up work to fill that void. So, a word to you freelancers: Start building your savings account now; someday (hopefully not soon) you’ll need to tap into it. (It didn’t help that I made less money at the end of 2005 due to being injured – and thereby less productive – and going on a three-week vacation halfway around the world.)
Fortunately, in addition to my regular gig at TidBITS, I lined up a few article assignments, tinkered with an idea for a video podcast (which I still might do), and started combing through my list of projects to tackle when I have more time. (Freelancers: Keep this type of list handy.) I also had the good fortune of being approached about a couple of projects (still simmering) and picked up a little graphic design work, too.
You probably saw this coming: Peachpit green-lit the update to my iMovie book.
So as of right now, my plate is filled with: TidBITS (weekly), one big book update, two articles, one new Take Control ebook and three existing titles (editing), my Seattle Times Practical Mac column (every two weeks, alternating with my co-columnist), some occasional design/DTP work, a new book that’s been started but delayed by a product’s parent company, and a secret book project that I’m not yet ready to reveal. And, of course, I need to pay bills (ongoing), do my taxes (only a month until April 15?), and keep an eye out for projects and article assignments to line up for the future.
Freelancers: Busy is better; stay hydrated; espresso is your friend.