When It Rains, It Pours
I should have remembered. Over the last month or so, I've thought of that phrase numerous times and pictured myself thumping my head against my desk. The subject of my should-have? That the second quarter of the calendar year is bananas for freelancers of all sorts.
This is something I realized last year. Just as my spring MFA term wound down, assignments and requests flooded my inbox. April, May, and most of June remain a blur of projects and activity. At the time, I couldn't put my finger on why that was so. Now, I can.
I work at the intersection of two types of work. One involves articles and interviews that go on year 'round, but have a special sort of uptick in the last half, or last quarter, of clients' fiscal years as they are trying to justify the next year's budget requests. The other includes large-scale content strategy and development projects that typically get started, after some form of RFP or bidding cycle, in clients' second fiscal quarter, before their budgets are depleted.
Most of the first type of clients don't work on a calendar fiscal year. And most of the second type do. Making April through June and, to a slightly lesser extent, July through September, prime time for the self-employed and strategi-creatively minded.
From the freelance perspective, that translates to a state of being that can best be described as "make hay while the sun shines." In other words, work can become nearly all-consuming while it's abundant and available, because there is no guarantee that the phenomenon will reoccur. It's a very good challenge for me to have, since it means I can plan to take research trips that feed the book at other times of the year, under far less stress.
This year, though, I'm also doing my best to keep a healthy focus on the rest of life even during this busy time. Some things do matter much more than work. After all, without a healthy body, an enriched spirit, and a little bit of emotional magic, what are we working for?