Guest Post: Working From Home

This post was written by @MichaelCWalsh, a former boss and great friend. He currently freelances for the Hartford Courant.

When Jon asked me to do a guest post on his blog about my life as a freelance journalist I realized I’d have plenty to fill the great space of his blog with.

I’ve talked at annoying length with him, friends and family about my experiences of doing journalism outside of a newsroom and inside of my office (better known to some as my childhood bedroom).

When my internship ended at the Hartford Courant last August I was offered a freelance position with the newspaper. Not knowing how long it would last, I took the offer and began my journalism life outside of the newsroom. I continued to cover the Connecticut towns of Vernon and Tolland I became familiar with last summer.

Even though it wasn’t a full-time job, I was thrilled to have the position. It obviously meant a lot that the folks in Hartford felt I had performed enough to be a reliable source of more news for their print and online products. Besides, the offer had a more permanent feeling attached to it compared to other freelancing gigs I’ve heard about before.

And so since last September I’ve been doing all of my news writing and some of my interviews from inside my bedroom. Being stuck in a rather tiny and all too familiar space is both a blessing and a curse. I’m comfortable with the space and everything is mine. I can work wearing whatever stupid Phish t-shirt I want to. Or maybe even interview someone naked. I’m kidding, that last part never happened.

The great thing about freelancing is working on your own terms. You set your schedule yourself and if I want to nip out sometime in the afternoon to meet a friend for lunch I can certainly do so, provided I’m caught up on work and have the time. That sort of freedom and flexibility is one fantastic aspect of my personal freelancing set up.

But I quickly learned that if I don’t get out enough to Vernon and Tolland, or escape my house for a few hours during the middle of my slower days, I’d soon grow tired of my own living space. Cabin fever is a very real thing. I’ve spent entire days in my house, alone, doing interviews and writing. While I have always appreciated the hermit crab lifestyle, not leaving the house and heading to an office or newsroom can be quite a drag on some days because of how important outsider human contact is to a person. And even though I’m talking to numerous people on the phone, exchanging e-mails with others and sifting through Twitter the entire day I, at times, feel very much alone and disconnected.

That’s why I hunger to find myself back inside a newsroom sometime soon. Whether it’s as large as the Courant’s, the newsroom experience is valuable to a growing journalist. When I was an intern for the Courant, it was great to be sitting merely feet away from the editors who read and work on my articles and being right next to some of the best writers the newspaper has to offer was itself a boost to my experience.

I already know this freelancing gig will only last so long. I will be back in a newsroom eventually. But while I’m on this ride, I might as well enjoy it and get everything I can out of it. The experience has been great and I’ve been able to adjust to the lifestyle very well. I can’t say I hate the idea of being able to listen to Phish at loud levels, pop on a great TV show or even watch parts of a movie while I wait for an important source to return a phone call.

I just won’t interview anyone naked.

Want to read more from Mike? Check out his blog here.  Look for my reaction post soon!

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3 Responses to Guest Post: Working From Home

  1. Pingback: Working in a Newsroom « Just Starting Out

  2. Pingback: Make Each Pitch Interesting « Just Starting Out

  3. Pingback: Guest Post: Virtues of Versatility « Just Starting Out

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