Whatever it Takes

A corollary to my stipulation that I will write "anything that pays" is the philosophy that I will do "whatever it takes" to get a job done.

In fact, my husband teased me that my water broke only *after* I submitted a story, on deadline, to a well-paying trade magazine. I'd been struggling with the article, as source after source fell through. I submitted the article at close of business Friday... early Saturday morning, my water broke. I do remember thinking, "My last assignment's done, NOW I can go into labor." But I'm sure the two events weren't actually related.

In those last few weeks before I had Ashley, I conducted interviews during Braxton-Hicks contractions. When I transcribed the tape, I could tell when I was breathing deeply through the pain. (Yes, I had false labor that actually hurt... you can read about it in Ashley Lyn's birth story.)

My husband teased me that if I went into labor, I would interview Seth Godin from the delivery room (I was thatclose to my due date, but there was no way I was turning down that opportunity!

I'm not saying all this to blow my own horn. I had another, let's call it an experience, today.

After a major story fell through at the post-last minute, another lead came across my desk. (It's great to know wonderful, friendly PR people!) I picked up the phone to call the source ASAP. The phone line was dead. Panicked, I picked up my cell phone and reached the source. But I don't have the means to record interviews on my cell phone. After years as a local news reporter, I have pretty good shorthand skills and I've done interviews on the fly with no tape before. Except I couldn't imagine holding the telephone and my daughter while trying to take notes on a very technical article... I'm short one hand to even attempt it.

So I call my husband, the household tech guru, in a panic. He came home and tried everything he could to fix the phone, to no avail. Finally, he offered me his cell phone, which has a better speakerphone. Not trusting the system, however, I still wanted to take back-up notes by hand. So there I was: telephone on desk, digital recorder right next to the phone, squirming baby in arm, (she had just woken up from a three-hour nap so there was no chance of that!), and pen in hand. I'm not going to say this freelancing thing is easy, but it's do-able.

The downside to this story is that we may need a new telephone, because our phone, Internet and cable are all tied together, and only the phone isn't working.

But that's minor compared to what people in the New England area are experiencing right now. Entire sections of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts are without power. The shelves are bare at the few Wal-marts still open for business. And they're expecting another ice storm this evening. Please pray for everyone in those areas, and across the country, experiencing what I'm afraid is only the start of a very bad winter.

It's a good reminder for those of us who haven't YET been hit. When I go out to get a new phone this evening, I'm also going to stock up on some essentials like water and batteries (we'll need Ds for flashlights AND the bouncy chair!) and make sure our storm kit is well-stocked.

I guess there's my tie-in: Surviving a storm is like building a freelance career... always be prepared to do *whatever it takes.*