A Quiet Grateful Celebration Tonight

I’d intended to blog about the final five books from my TBR stash that I want to read next year, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

My heart is just so full right now, and I want to let it all spill out. My blog seems like the best place for the words to go.

For the first time in over fifteen years, I don’t have to work through the holidays.

This is something I’ve dreamed of for a long time. As a freelancer, it can often feel like feast or famine, and during the feast times, you acquire the habit of saying “yes” to everything, because after you finish that last project, it may well be famine. Because most of my indexing clients are textbook publishers, traditionally the busy season for me has been from November to February, with the worst of it being in November and December. As a result,  I have had too many years where I was only able to take Christmas Day off work – and I felt thankful that I could.

But this entire year, it’s been different. Partly, it’s because I’m not doing as many indexing projects as I used to. Three years ago, one of my major clients decided to outsource all its editorial overseas, indexes included, and since then, while I still do some of their indexes via the overseas editorial firms (and when they do keep anything in-house, I often get the project), I’m now preparing only a fraction of the indexes for them that I used to. Each year that number has dwindled.

The publishing industry is in a state of flux, and outsourcing overseas is a very real possibility with my other clients too. So with this in mind, I’ve started to focus on freelance writing and social media management.  I started out this year with one client, thanks to my good friend Brette Sember, and then I added another client (thanks again to Brette). I think that’s helped in terms of a steadier workload.

And it’s funny the way life works. Instead of having to deal with a big empty hole in my work schedule because of the dwindling workload from this one major client who’s outsourced all its editorial, my other clients began filling the gap. In fact, two of them in particular have kept me steadily indexing throughout the year, so that this year and last, I never really felt that “famine” part of the freelance life. While I have a little less work, it’s spread out much more evenly through the year.

The best thing is, this is the first year I’ve been able to take so much time off for the holidays. I have one writing assignment due next week, but that’s it. Even better, my time off isn’t at the expense of my bank account, either (if it was, I wouldn’t be feeling so happy!).

 

Photo 2014-12-19, 2 56 19 PMI even had time to take pictures at the mall!

So I’m really really looking forward to the days leading up to Christmas. Today I took my youngest Christmas shopping, and we had such fun! He’s a great kid to take to the shops, because he really gets into it. In the past, I’d have to scramble to find an hour in my schedule to whisk him to a store to pick a present for his dad, but today we spent the entire afternoon wandering the mall, browsing and having a great time. This year, we had time for him to pick presents for his older brother and sister too, as well as for his dad.

Photo 2014-12-19, 4 14 16 PMHard to see, but shimmery beauty decorates one of the mall windows

And tonight, it’s just the two of us. Christmas music is playing, the tree is lit, and we have wrapping plans. I feel so rich, so abundant, so grateful.  I want to keep pinching myself to make sure this is real.

A steady workload and the ability to take time off, without any guilt or stress. More of the same throughout all of 2015, please!

7 thoughts on “A Quiet Grateful Celebration Tonight

  1. Susan

    Awesome post about how to celebrate and appreciate when something we really want happens! It’s so good to know that the changes you have been through in your work life have ended up bringing benefits to you and your family. I’ll bet your children will be so glad to see more of you through the holidays, your youngest especially. Enjoy getting ready for the holidays with your family, Belle, and enjoy the free time and space to be with them :-) Lovely!

    Reply
  2. Heidenkind

    I know exactly what you mean about feast or famine when it comes to freelancing. It’s tough. I wish I could be in a position when I could just take time off, but c’est la vie.

    Reply
  3. Li

    Hurray for being able to take the holidays off!

    I loved your post – I’m trying to remind myself to take more time to stop and really appreciate all that I have right NOW, instead of thinking ahead and worrying about the next thing that’s coming.

    Reply
  4. jenn aka the picky girl

    I’ve never been 100% freelance, though I was an adjunct instructor, and that life is fickle as well. The last two years I haven’t had any time off around the holidays, but this year, my class is prepped, and I got everything done at the end of the semester, and I have TIME. It feels amazing. I’m glad you’ve gotten to enjoy a bit of that as well.

    Reply
  5. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

    I’m really glad you get this break. Freelancing always sounds so glamorous — set your own hours! do projects you love! — but I know the reality can be quite different. I get some vacation time over the holidays, but since I work at a newspaper I still need to get work for this weekends edition done before I head out of town. Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  6. Beth F

    I haven’t ever had the holidays off, but this year I’m doing something different: I’m working from 7am to noon or so without a break and then taking the rest of the day off. I’s a really hard 5- / 6-hour stretch but I’m enjoying the afternoons for baking and holiday prep and relaxing.

    Reply

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