The Hammock Dilemma: Why Work When You Could Play?

It’s the start of June, and I’m celebrating a milestone.

I’m also stewing (just a little) over paths not-quite-taken.

May was a great month, work-wise. Despite being grossly ill for the first two weeks of the month with theeee worst head cold known to man, I got a shitload done. The projects I’m currently hacking away at are varied and challenging and fascinating pretty much to a one, which (cough) doesn’t happen all the time, and that certaintly helped to bolster my resolve through the brutal fog of an early-summer sickness.

And, here’s the best part: as far as pure earnings, I hit a financial benchmark that I never could have imagined for myself a couple of years ago: I out-earned my partner.

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The Burden of Time: Holding your own as a creative freelance parent

Anyone who’s raised a toddler knows that toddlers get sick with astonishing frequency. Like, it’s almost sort of insane. My babe, for instance, has been sick since last Halloween. It is now May.

And if your toddler attends daycare, this presents an instant, recurring dilemma: who will skip work to stay home with the snotty little darling?

If, like me, you’re a creative freelancer and your partner is not, this burden probably defaults to you. And it’s probably sort of what you’ve chosen, even if you resent the imposition.

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What Labor Teaches (Or: How the Taffy Gets Made)

In the sweltering summer of my sixteenth year, I scored my first-ever full-time job.

It was a taffy-making gig, paying $5.25 an hour and entailing 40-or-so hours per week of light manual labor at a modest factory in Portland’s Inner Industrial Eastside.

The person who hired me was a petite and perky woman in her early 30s who reeked perpetually of flower-scented mothballs and preferred to wear her hair in a tight, high ponytail. She looked just a bit like Phoebe from “Friends,” and she lived in my dad’s condo complex with her six-year-old daughter. (I’m fairly certain he was attempting to date her, which never really worked out, though she did consent to a couple of rides on our jet-boat the week before she hired me, by phone, through my father.)

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TC Productivity Tip: The Big Bite

We’re in a cultural moment of compulsive solopreneurship, gigging, and freelancing, and this makes the current national obsession with Productivity and its many tools, hacks, and schools pretty unsurprising.

Work faster! Work smarter! Work better! Work harder! Those are the ascendant goals for every independent contractor, creatively inclined or not, and, really, when you’re paying your own way through the world without the cushion of a salary or benefits or sick leave, it’s wise to pay close attention to how much you’re getting done and how efficiently you’re doing it.

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