The Game Plan

Did we really have a long weekend? It seems like yesterday I was thrust back into work. Like walking downhill only to stumble and roll out of control. That was yesterday. I saw it coming. We’d gone to a meditation retreat over the weekend. It was going too blissfully.

Still, I got a good deal of work done on the large project. Amen for document compare and combine features! They’ve saved me already a huge bulk of reformatting. I still have to go through the combined document and accept/reject changes, but I no longer have to set up styles and get Word to cooperate and stop giving me fits.

I had to turn down a smaller project. Well, not turn it down completely, but as I was explaining my parameters and time limitations to the editor, I realized squeezing it in wasn’t going to work too well. I have maybe one weekend left before my trip and after my surgery in which to get any work done on the suggested project (don’t even ask about my weekdays – they’re booked). No way I’d leave an article until the weekend before I go away. I just can’t. I love that they find me with work, and if I knew anyone who could take on the subject matter, I’d pass it on. It’s pretty specialized, though, and I don’t like subbing out articles. Too much at stake for everyone involved, and too easy to screw it up.

That said, October is going to be lean in terms of work. Two weeks off at a time when two weeks off may hurt financially, but I have to make it work (to quote Project Runway’s Tim Gunn). I’ll be paying taxes next week, which will strap me nice and tight. Wee. It’s been a year like that. Every time I get ahead and get something in the account, out come the bills.

Maybe you’ve noticed it too, but every time you go on vacation, you come back to an empty desk. We spend so much time clearing things off the desk that we forget to line up our next few weeks of work for our return. I’ve been burned enough by that particular oversight – I’m searching now for things that can hold until I return. It’s a month out, I know, but I want to get feelers out, then hit them hard the week before I get on the plane. Much of what I’m doing now are travel article queries – a little late, in my opinion, but still worth tossing into the mix. Also, I had a great idea for a longer piece on heritage searches. Get that formulated and find it a home, I say.

So how do you handle your pre-vacation workload? What’s your post-vacation plan look like? Do you have one? Do you need one? Does anyone else think Paula needs to get up from the computer and get herself a vacation?

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  • Diane September 8, 2010 at 11:37 am

    When I freelanced full time my diary was booked 3 months in advance, so even if I had a holiday – or any other scheduled time away from the desk – I still had plenty of work to come back to. Every month I had marketing scheduled in, too, with my writing diary to hand and anything in the future I thought I might like to research, attend, write about, etc. Once you get into the swing of things it's automatic.

  • Devon Ellington September 8, 2010 at 11:40 am

    I don't really have a plan. I take it as it comes. I'm trying to create a plan with the move, but so much in my work arena will change with the relocation, because I'm up for more local stuff. I won't really know until I get there. Meanwhile, I'm juggling a lot of fiction and I'm landing more and more scripting jobs that are located all over the place, which is great. Right now, I just need a place to move into before I can deal with anything else.

  • Cathy September 8, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    So far, knock on wood, I have always had something when I get back-mostly due to some regular gigs (monthly posts, ghostwritten articles, etc.)-bare minimum, but at least something.

    Pre-vacation (Mine's in November), I try to crank out as much as I can.

    I'm hoping I can have an e-book done before I get back in late November so I will have that as well.

    Keep us posted on the surgery & enjoy Ireland. It's on my list of places I would like to see.

  • Wendy September 8, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    My vacation plans constantly change all the way to the minute I actually leave, so it's not worth planning too much ahead.

    Yes, I also think Paula should pull away from the computer and get at least a small vacation. Plus, I think Devon should be moving out right now and waving goodbye to that nasty landlord. Well, it sounds good in theory anyway.

  • Paula September 8, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    As you already pointed out, I can't speak to pre- or post-vacation workloads, but I sure know the feeling of finally having three digits on the left side of my checkbook ledger's decimal point after paying bills, only to have yet another tax payment (right on the heels of a massive property tax payment) eat it all up.

    You brought it up, Lori…The only way I can go on vacation is if I win an all-expenses-paid vacation.

    I could probably get over the "I should be working! I need the money!" commentary running through my head. But how could I relax and enjoy a getaway (which I understand is the point of a vacation) when constantly adding up how much everything costs, knowing the money is sorely needed for practical things like home repairs, my IRA or my HSA?

    Luckily I didn't grow up expecting an annual vacation so now I don't feel too deprived.

    What good is a vacation if it actually increases your stress?

  • Lori September 8, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Diane, great idea. Three months out is optimum.

    Devon, I appreciate you posting despite losing your dear kitty, Elsa. Much love and condolences to you.

    Cathy, I'll let you know how fabulous it is. 🙂

    Wendy, maybe we should be entering Paula in these all-expense-paid giveaways? The girl needs to get out. Badly.

    Paula, in all honesty this vacation will have undertones of "Oh my lord, the money!" I have little left after taxes, and this month is abbreviated thanks to the surgery. And the workload in October is two weeks light. Not great timing on my part, but I do have some bigger checks due by then, amen.

  • Paula September 8, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Devon – I'm sorry to hear about Elsa. Take comfort in knowing she was lucky to have you.

  • Anne Wayman September 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    You would think by this time… I mean at my age… I wouldn't be surprised that Monday holidays throw the whole week off to some degree… but I am… maybe always will be.