Was there a full moon last week? I don’t mean just one day, I’m talking the whole of last week. Or maybe there was a once-every-million-years wacky planet alignment? Did anybody notice if the stars rotated into a formation, forming the words “send Leif stuff, so he has to work like a miserable dog”?
Well something was messed up in the space-time continuum and what was formerly known as ‘reality’ last week, because assignments fell all over me. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my three, long years (two of them paid) in travel writing.
Five assignments in five days, which when added to the one assignment that I was already picking at, qualifies as a full-on deluge. Sweet Jesus, people want me! I really shouldn’t be complaining, because I do love being popular, but I was hoping my time in Minneapolis would be almost exclusively filled with sleeping, eating, drinking, seeing friends and letting said friends buy me ciders.
So, I’m swamped. Just so you have some idea (and I can finally get it straight myself), here’s the breakdown…
Assignment: best-of list for Minneapolis – convenient, as I happen to be here at the moment (~3,750 words)
Exposure: none (uncredited)
Due: Like now
Assignment: Two essays on Romania (2,000 words; mostly cleaned up, refreshed text from existing blog entries)
Exposure: byline in a fledgling Eastern Europe magazine
Due: November 1st
Assignment(s): country profiles for Romania and Moldova (1,000 words each)
Pay: acceptable considering it’s essentially a text refresh of existing material
Exposure: two bylines in a LP coffee table book on Europe
Due: November 6th
Assignment: contribute story clipped from my Myanmar travelogue (800 words)
Pay: embarrassingly low
Exposure: stellar; my name in an Asian travel anthology book
Assignment: article on Bangkok (~2,000)
Pay: decent considering it’s cut out of an existing travelogue
Exposure: third byline in Aussie student travel mag in six months
Due: Good question. I should send an email.
I was supposed to leave for Paris today. However, there’s nothing worse than trying to tackle huge work in a loud, chaotic, 21 euro per night hostel, with drunken teenagers staggering around, keeping me up until 3am and a parade of curious people asking “What’cha doin’?” every three minutes. At which stage I have no choice but to admit that I’m a professional travel writer, over-worked at that, and then bask in their admiration, which can eat up as much as 30 minutes a shot depending on how cute (or eccentric) they are.
Considering this, I made a last second decision to delay my flight for a week, allowing me time to sweat over this workload in the quiet, comfortable, groupie-free surroundings of my parent’s guest bedroom, while stealing wifi from the neighbors.
It’ll be perfect actually. If I can resist the urge to drink cider every night and play ‘Halo 2’ at Steve’s house until the wee hours, I should be able to wrap up most of this writing in a week, blast off for Paris and still have two full weeks to zip around France and maybe Switzerland before I move into my apartment on Sardinia November 1st. Yes, I know, woe is me. I’m such a jackhole sometimes.
This is all being planned under the assumption that no one else emerges, offering me tantalizing work that’s too good/easy to refuse. I’m not so hot that I can turn down work in favor of cider and Halo 2 (yet), but equally I’d like to have, I don’t know, a weekend where I don’t have to revive myself with coffee and Mountain Dew to hammer out 1,000 words in four hours. I’m complaining again, but on some level it’s justified, right?
I know – raging jackhole.