Monday, August 13, 2007


Fits and starts. That's how my freelance books career has gone since I first started reviewing books for the Winnipeg Free Press in 2002.

I'm a slow reviewer by nature and so could never do much more than one a month, and so a heavy reviewing schedule, pre-baby, was two in a month and a half, after which I felt all sorry for myself...

But reading/reviewing in the first year of my child's life was an act of faith more than anything else. And faith doesn't come easy in writing of any stripe, especially when your reviewerly arrogance/persnicketiness has been worn thin and thinner by a lack of sleep.

But I persevered, getting downstairs childcare (I would write upstairs while a relation watched baby and only come down when I heard the 'feed-me' cries) so I could get my reviews in on deadline and even had the temerity to seek out more deadlines (aka freelancing for Prairie books NOW).

But after the last set of deadlines, I had that familiar 'woe-is-me' feeling and resolved to set down my poison pen for a month or so...but now the deadlines have caught up with me again.

And it's my own fault.

You see, over the past several years, Jane Smiley and Frances Itani have become new old favourites and I've been steadily working through their back catalogues. So when I read in Quill and Quire that there would soon be another Itani novel, I put in a request to the books editor at The WFP post-haste...and today, the ARC thunked onto a corner of my desk at work.

Given the sands through the hourglass (and also the recent email from the editor) I should also have one or two articles due for the next issue of PBN, hopefully another brace of poets to go with my in-print-but-not-on-line interviews with A.S. Woudstra and Shane Rhodes.

I've also got another couple of poky metal things in the freelance writing fire but don't want to burn myself by blabbing about them before they're good and set (i.e. safely in print).



Brenda Schmidt said...

Bravo! Good luck with the poky metal things!

Ariel Gordon said...

I do so like poky metal things...

tracy said...

May your poky metal things be as freely lanced as the rest of your freelancing!

Ariel Gordon said...

While I agree that writing for hire is sometimes like getting/getting rid of boils, I'm not sure how 'free' I'd want the lancer to be with my boils.

(Re-reading this, I'm not sure I should hit 'publish your comment,' either...)

David Jón Fuller said...

I thought "freelance" came from the age of knights-errant, when a knight without a patron roamed the countryside for work wherever he could get it — a "free" lance not bound to a lord. Available for slaying dragons (or, more likely riding roughshod over some peasants)... Hmm, roughshod, that's another good word. Anyway, to work freelance means you're not bound to one employer. Right? Ariel, you're the dictionary-poem-chick, surely you looked this up.