Of course there are many good things about being a freelance writer, despite this blog relentlessly suggesting otherwise. I haven’t quite found it to be “the life of kings” as H.L. Mencken suggests, but if there weren’t parts of it that I didn’t enjoy, then why would I do it? Because I can’t do anything else? Because I either got booted out of or quit somewhere in the region of 70 jobs in the wilderness that was pre-Pitching the World?
Partly. I do it partly because although I’m not quite good enough to do this, I’m better at doing this than I am at doing other things. Worrying, perhaps, but you should have seen me, for example, as a plasterer’s labourer. But there are other reasons.
Look down there then, and you’ll see the definitive guide to what I’m snappily calling “some good things – but not all the good things – about being a freelance journalist”:
1. Anything can happen. This is true. As a journalist you never know what’s going to happen from one day to the next. Well you sort of do, but other journalists say that you don’t so you might not do. You could get a call one morning from an editor asking you to go on an all-expenses trip to the Antarctic, or to spend six months undercover in a crack house in Tottenham, or something else equally exciting. This has never happened to me but it might do. See? Exciting. Knowing that ‘anything can happen’.
A crack house in Tottenham, earlier.
2. You get to interact with the public. Even though you may hate the public, get scared by the public or not know exactly who the public really are, you get to interact with them. Even if you just sit at home chain smoking Camels and the only public who you interact with is yourself in the mirror whilst you’re ‘trying out’ other personalities, point 2 is still a valid one.
The public, earlier.
3. You can make a difference. Whether this is exposing a scandal, helping to shape policy, or simply putting a smile on the public’s faces, journalists can and do make a difference to the world. That this journalist doesn’t – nor ever will – do any of the above is moot.
The earth, earlier.
4. The pleasure of writing. Doesn’t really need examining – can be pleasurable. Plus, I’m getting a kick out of being able to insert images into my posts. It’s only taken eight months to work this out.
Someone getting pleasure from writing, earlier.
5. You can be your own boss. Meaning you can choose when to work, and how to conduct yourself when you’re at work. I choose to conduct myself by smoking and drinking lots, opening the fridge lots and seeing how many kick ups I can do with a tennis ball lots (14, at the last count). That said, this is exactly how I behaved in my previous 70-odd jobs; perhaps an indication of why they didn’t last.
Someone smoking lots, earlier.