When it rains, it pours

When it rains, it pours.

Poet Dorothea Mackellar wrote of Australia as a country of “droughts and flooding rains’. She might just as well have written the same about freelancing.

I’ve been self-employed as a freelance science journalist for almost nine years, and it has taken me nearly that long to realise – and accept – that mine will never be a work schedule of 9-5, five days a week.

A more realistic description would be 8-10am, 11.05am-11.20am, 12-3pm, 4-5pm (while the kids are watching TV), maybe a bit between 8-8.30pm … and that’s just Saturday.

A better way of planning my weekly schedule of work would be to write a whole pile of times of day on bits of paper, throw them in the air during a tornado, and then work according to how they fall

Weekends are a thing of the past. The only reason I know it’s a weekend is because no one returns my calls for comment.

The other quirk of freelancing I’ve finally come to terms with, which is where dear old Dorothea comes in, is that despite my best efforts to time-manage, work will ALWAYS gang up on me. It’s like the many editors I work for (bless all your lovely emailing fingers) have a big phone conference that goes something like this:

“She’s getting that complacent look again,” says one.

“Yep, that insufferable smug face that says ‘I’m in control of my workload’,” says another.

“Ohh, THAT face – I can’t stand that face,” says a third. “Let’s give it to her, Trojan Horse-style.”

And suddenly I go from this:


to this:


Work never comes in a nice even flow. It just doesn’t. It never will.

But I love it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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