Big professional development: I’m joining the growing tribe of freelance journalists. Have a retainership agreement lined up with my paper wherein I’ll be able to work out of home for much of the time, and will be free to write for others. It’s a decent deal, the good part being a fixed monthly cheque that will ensure a minimum amount of financial security - very important for someone who’s just cutting his teeth on the big bad world of freelancing. Plus my computer in office stays in place, which means I can come in and use office resources anytime. Again important, because friends with experience in this line tell me the shift from office-enforced discipline to self-discipline is a difficult one, and in the early days the solitariness can be tough to cope with.
I’ll probably discover the downsides to freelancing as it happens, but for now I’m enthusiastic about this change, it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. The knowledge that I’m not cuffed to one organisation means a lot, for one reason or the other.
[Collected bagfuls of advice from freelance pros like Devangshu, Nilanjana and Peter the Griffin at a get-together last night where Samit also sang his version of the Bubbly song for the benefit of those of us who know not what is television and haven’t heard the original. I was rechristened Jam-sandwich Jabberwock at this gathering, for reasons that have nothing to do with jam sandwiches or anything else.]
Will concentrate on Business Standard assignments for the first few weeks, while I figure out time management issues. Then will follow up on a few contacts, look at options in other places. Book reviews/profiles/features/a couple of columns will be the focus to start with but eventually I’m hoping to get back into the movie-reviewing business too; haven’t written an official film review for over a year now. And – dare I suggest it – perhaps even something on cricket, another of the areas I’ve neglected.
P.S. One definite disadvantage: the sound of screeching Pom at home, which will have to be muffled (though right now I’m unsure how best to do this. Suggestions welcome).