I'm using today's lunch break to deliver my MA Dissertation to university - the final piece in the MA jigsaw that will bring two years of International Relations study to an end.
Of course, the studying doesn't now stop: far from it. I'm starting a PhD pretty much immediately investigating the relationship between NASA and the media during the US/Soviet space race....so I know what I'm doing with my life for the next four years or so.
What it means is that I need to get my working life in stricter order too. It has been a bit ad hoc over the last year and now I need to get a rather more disciplined balance between work and study. Doing a PhD in a niche nerdy field is expensive...it's not the stuff they hand out big scholarships for, so I'll be funding most of the research myself. That means earning decent sums, which means planning my work time a bit more carefully. That's generally anathema for a freelancer, but is going to be necessity for me.
I've decided that I'm not going to pitch for any more consultancy work that's going to take more than a couple of days a week or where the project's for more than three months. I will take on short, sharp, discrete projects - and actually think that's where I bring most value anyway.
What I will look for is more regular writing work. One of my regular magazines shrank from four to three issues this year and was planned to shrink further to two next year. Now I've learned that it is 'on hold', and plans to revive it look more than a bit iffy. I'm not too badly affected as I've got a mix of writing for print and for the web on for the moment that's going to keep me pretty busy in the short-term, and a number of training days planned in too that will at least pay the mortgage. But it would be great to get one more steasy, regular piece, preferably a b2b magazine where I can really play to my strengths. Now the MA work is out of the way, I can get back in the game a tad more seriously and interest editors and comms managers in what I have to offer.