Feeling unsettled today. There are many reasons for this:
The massive freelance project I've taken on doesn't seem to be going anywhere. I've asked the editor what comes next (he's supposed to be supplying me with some guidelines and contacts), but he's not been very helpful and I'm petrified that the deadline will arrive and I won't have been able to complete the 10 000 words of copy that I'm supposed to hand in!
I had a meeting this morning scheduled for me by my boss at Red Tree with the ad company it is merging with, let's call them Orange Coffee (in the great tradition of random agency names). She seems to have given the folk at Orange Coffee the impression that I'll be available to them as part of my agreement with her to continue writing for Red Tree clients for the two months after I leave the company on a contractor basis to assist her with the transition.
This is not my plan at all! I don't want to take on any further PR or advertising work. I want to stop doing it. To give you an idea of why... one freelance feature story for a publication I often work with pays me more than my monthly salary at Red Tree. Surely I should be pursuing the work that I enjoy and that pays decently rather than the work I dislike that doesn't pay?
Then, the man I met with at Orange Coffee proceeded to take me to a meeting with the advertising wing of one of the local publishing houses and introduce me as the copywriter on a major project they want to undertake with government, which they would pay me for as a separate fee. This meeting made me very uncomfortable. There are also many reasons for this:
- I have not signed any agreements with Orange Coffee, but will now feel guilty if I say no to this project as they've already introduced me to the client and "sold" me and my skills to the company. I know that it's silly to feel bad about something like that and will do my best not to, but I know myself.
- I don't like working with government. In my experience, they have big ideas but move incredibly slowly, are often unreliable (in terms of deadlines and payment) and I've burned my fingers with projects for them before. Orange Coffee assures me, however, that I would be paid by the agency, not the client, and that boundaries would be set in place to ensure that no work gets done without government supplying the necessary funds, information etc. Not sure I fully believe this.
- This project would mean a year-long committment to produce four sets of content at three-month periods (ie. one project per quarter). I would need to travel around the country to visit local government branches to collect the info and would probably have to give up at least two weeks of the month every third month to work on this project solidly. Now, I can't predict what will happen in a year's period. And I have other committments to keep in mind. I have monthly retainer clients whose newsletters or web copy needs to be written at a certain time during the month. I oversee a deacon team at church with TSC and lead a weekly small group. It would also tie my hands in terms of taking on new freelance clients in case the deadlines fall during those two-week periods when I would be travelling or unavailable. Furthermore, I'm not keen to tie myself to an unknown quantity for a year. But there's apparently no chance of doing the first project of the four and then making a decision - this is a package deal.
- Once again, this would essentially be PR work thinly disguised as journalism. It's not the direction I want to head in. I want to write feature stories, not ad or PR copy. I've done that and I don't enjoy it.
On the other hand, this project would pay incredibly well. As in, one of the four sets of content would probably make me more than I've earned in a year of freelancing to date. And, although I'm not about the money, I do have to consider the wisdom of turning down such a big sum that would give us more financial security while TSC is studying and would give me more freedom in the jobs I choose to tackle going forward. All the same, this doesn't sit well with me at the moment. I think lots of prayer is needed and some advice from people on the outside. So hit me with your best shot.
Off to think about how I can put together a contract for the next two months that protects me from abuse from both Red Tree and Orange Coffee.
Have a good weekend.