Making New Plans

Freelancers must be prepared to pivot.
Photo by Caleb Oquendo on

As a freelance writer, you need to be able to pivot. This week was supposed to be Spring Break. We’d make a run to the lake, come back for a birthday party, and then do fun things around town. I planned to do a little work but not much.

And the universe laughed. Let’s just say that a virulent stomach bug is moving through the family. I was victim number one. Everyone else is still sick so I’m sitting down to work.

It isn’t what I’d planned, but that’s okay. Then I got my editor’s feedback on my next book.

Thank goodness this was feedback on an outline and not a full manuscript. Why? Because I need to replace a full chapter. It isn’t that she didn’t like my chapter topic. The problem came in that she couldn’t find any photos which is strange. This was a high profile situation. But no photos means no photos. Fortunately, she suggested a new chapter topic that fits in nicely.

That’s one of the about working on series books. You need to be willing to make changes to your outline and to your book. Sometimes the issue is that they can’t find a good illustration for something. I’m not sure how they source the images but I do know that when national governments get involved, especially outside of the US, you can find yourself in a world of zero photos. The more controversial the situation, the tighter the clamp.

Me? I wanted to write about it because it was controversial! And that alone wouldn’t dissuade my editors but illustrations, especially photos, are a must for the books in this series.

Other times you will find yourself having to make a change because topic is covered in another book in the series. If the other book has a chapter on the topic, you might be able to include a sidebar but that’s that.

For the book I am currently working on, this will not be a problem. For my Pearl Harbor book, it was a huge issue. The series was on World War II and, although I had to provide background to what occurred in Pearl Harbor, I had to avoid spending a great deal of time on topics covered in other books.

Freelancing definitely requires flexibility both in planning when to write but also in planning what to include in an individual piece of writing.