Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Don't. Stop. Me. Now! (I'm having such a good time... having a ball...)

I wasn’t sure where to put this post – here or at my other blog, International Mama. But I guess it’s most appropriate here since maybe other expat freelancers can relate.

In my last post, I mentioned how living abroad means working around an unfamiliar vacation schedule. I was pretty cheery about it in that post, having just spent 10 days in the sunny climes of Biarritz. But now it’s the middle of June and my real summer vacation is looming in front of me like a black hole. I know that as much as I’ll fight it initially, come the start of July I’m going to get sucked into that hole and not fully emerge until the beginning of September. It’s making me sad.

People who don’t freelance don’t really get it: “Just enjoy!” they say. Or, if American they say, “I wish I had so much vacation.” And I respond: “I wish someone would continue to pay me during my vacations!”

But, you know what? It isn’t just missing out on a paycheck. I hate losing momentum. I’ve had some great breaks in the past two months and I want to keep riding on that high you get when people like – and pay for - your work. Vacations make me happy but so does getting an email that says: “love that story idea…will be sending you a contract shortly.” My husband thinks I’m a workaholic. But really I just love writing. I love building a career from scratch. I love feeling increasingly confident about my work and taking on bigger challenges.

Right about now, you might be saying: so, don’t take such a long vacation. Uh-huh, I hear through my computer. Well, the thing is, my other job requires me to go on vacation: my mom job. The tots need to spend time with my family in the U.S. They need to see their family in Germany. They need to spend time with me and my husband, when we’re not sneaking glances at our cell phones or “just quickly checking” something on the computer. To accomplish all this traveling takes time – and thank goodness for our kids – time is something we have.

I know that once vacation starts, I won’t be worrying too much about the work I’m missing. I’ll get a chance to do some personal journaling. I’ll get lots of article ideas. And I’ll get my writing groove back in September. Still, as vacation inches ever closer, I can’t help but feel as if I’m preparing to say goodbye to a good friend for awhile.

Readers - what about you? Are you reluctant to stop working? Is this an expat problem or a freelancer problem? Or maybe a mom problem?

2 comments:

  1. I'm a freelancer going on my first real vacation since I started freelancing and I'm hoping I'll get some time to write. When I had a full-time job I left the office and left my job behind but now that I'm doing something I love I just don't want to stop!

    I'm hoping to catch up on reading during my vacation though, because that's the one thing I don't get to do much of when I'm in Paris.

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  2. I think that as a writer it's impossible to keep the mind from it's work, regardless of where you are. That's a major difference between being a creative freelancer and working in a structured job with paid holidays. (Let's not forget how few of them we had in NYC!?)

    Kudos to you for appreciating what is truly important in life: time with family. Enjoy your time away!

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