Four months ago this week we bought our house. This little anniversary and a guest post pitch from a fellow freelancer about how to make connections after a relocation (which you will read tomorrow), made me think about all the tasks one must juggle while moving and maintaining a freelance business.
The move this year was not my first while freelancing. I have moved 8 times in the last 6 1/2 years. (That small sentences holds tremendous exhaustion.) Four of those moves were made as a freelance writer.
Packing. Deadlines. Moving. New clients. Utility connections. Journal submissions. Unpacking. Proposals. Groceries. Queries. Appliances.
None of these are ever in order.
Whether your move is across the country or within the same town (Before we bought our house I moved apartments within the same community!), moving is no fun. I don’t like having everything in disarray, not being able to find what I need, not having a dedicated writing space, having time compromised due to moving tasks, and just about everything related to moving. With tomorrow’s guest post focusing on how to maintain old connections and create new ones after a freelancer moves, I though I would offer a few tips for writers who may have an upcoming relocation:
- Connect. To prevent downtime in workflow, contact utility companies as soon as you know your move-in date. When I moved from New York to North Carolina in 2007, I didn’t realize how long I would have to wait for an Internet connection. I waited until a week before my move to call the provider–even though I knew one month in advance–and they were so backlogged with new connections that I didn’t have Internet in my apartment for 3 1/2 weeks! Scope out nearby coffee shops or libraries as back-up options during Internet downtime. During the first week in our new home I spent a few days working from our library that I love.
- Clients. Should you tell clients that you are moving? As a freelancer, you can work from anywhere and can have clients in all parts of the country–so would your relocation really matter? I was always concerned clients would worry projects would be interrupted or that editors would kill an assignment thinking the moving process will take away time from writing. Due to that concern, I don’t formally notify clients of my moves until after they take place–and then I only mention it if it comes up naturally in conversation. I maintain a post office box for all business mail and checks, so nothing changes on their end for accounting purposes. However, you will see in tomorrow’s guest post that our contributor shares different sentiments. She likes to notify clients well in advance so that they can plan around the move and rest assured all work moves forward seamlessly. Take it on a client-by-client basis and figure out what works best.
- Cram. Whenever I moved I would cram as much “necessary work” as possible into the time I had available. Preparing invoices in advance and saving the drafts has been a huge help each time. Instead of finding and powering up my laptop to send invoices, I can just open the drafts on my phone and send them in between moving furniture and boxes. Things that could pile up and wait until the move was done: Filing, journal submission/contest entries, sadly–this blog (write evergreen posts in advance and schedule them if desired), interviews for articles due after the move, etc.
- Communicate. Our guest contributor tomorrow will have more tips on this! 🙂
- Cast. Cast out a little Internet search net and find other writers, writing groups, writing events in your new town. Our move from Raleigh to Pittsboro earlier this year, although just over 30 miles, was the farthest I’ve moved since I started freelancing. It may not seem far, but if you are local to the Triangle you know how people like to stay within their own little radius. Members of my writing group in Chapel Hill complain about “going all the way” to Raleigh for events, and vice versa. We were under contract for 3 months before we closed on the house. Once the contracts were signed, I started searching for writers in my new town. I met with the community college and now have a fall workshop scheduled there. I’ve been in touch with an author who I will soon meet for lunch–the author happens to be the writer behind a series of books that I devoured during my teens and I can’t believe out of all the places I could have moved that she happens to be in the same town!
Bonus tip: Get an assistant. Remember I was sick? It was during the move! I’ve learned my lesson. Although no deadlines were missed, being sick and moving was a cocktail of super stress. I have now hired an assistant. My moves would have been so much easier if I would have had an assistant back then!