Thursday, October 23, 2008

Days Off

I’m in the midst of traveling to Missouri right now to visit my old college town and some old college friends who never left. I’m on a bus, and my Internet connection is very spotty, at best. This is the first time for me to leave Chicago since May. I need to get out more.

Travel is hard for me. And I suspect it is hard for many freelance writers. True, you can take your work on the road. But that can be a pain. Where’s a convenient printer? A fax machine? A decent workspace? And even if you find a decent workspace, it’s still not your workspace because there’s no monkey-head-shaped pen holder or a picture of yourself with a mustache drawn on it to inspire you.

Then there’s the lack of consistent Internet connection. The Internet is my lover. And I am in a very unhealthy relationship. If I can’t check my e-mail every five minutes, I get twitchy. In fact I think I might be freaking out the passenger sitting next to me with all this twitching. Come on e-mail! Work! Anywho, I do always make sure to set up an automatic away message prior to embarking on my travels. It gives me some piece of mind. That way if a client or prospective client or comedy agent or Hollywood producer decides to e-mail me while I’m on the road, they’ll at least know why I’m not pouncing all over their message like a cougar on a fat baby.

Also, I like to not have to do too much work when I’m traveling for pleasure. So I try to do everything I can to clear my schedule before making my trip. This can be difficult in that it either requires me to work extra hard in advance to create some downtime, or it requires me to not aggressively search for new assignments and just take advantage of the lull. This time I did a combination of the two. Last week I worked my fingers to the bone interviewing literally 20 sources for a major feature I’m working on. I also could have pursued some more work to fill up the last part of this month and parts of mid to late November. But I didn’t so that I could really enjoy myself. Hey! I deserve it.

Also, as a freelancer, traveling or taking a vacation requires a cost/reward analysis. Is the cost of losing some work worth the reward of the trip? For me, I needed a break from the city, and I’ve been working basically non-stop since I began my freelancing career in June. So for me, the analysis was simple. In addition, while on the road, I don’t really have the ability to work on comedy. I’m in the middle of editing my second video short (which I co-wrote, directed, filmed and acted in as well). I can’t do any editing while I’m gone since all my footage is on my external hard drive, which I didn’t bring for fear of damaging or losing. I’m also missing an improv rehearsal on Saturday. But still, there will be time for making funnies when I get back. And the rest might help refresh my comedic abilities, since being funny all the time can make one a little too serious.

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