Diary of a mum returning to work – Waiting

Last week we read how freelance writer and mum of three Lucy Mason had written a sample article ‘reviewing’ bars in Cape Town (a city she’d never visited) in the hope of securing regular work from a new client. This week she shares the frustration of waiting to hear whether she’s been successful or not.


So I finished my vicarious review of Cape Town bars, emailed it over to the editor and waited to hear back. I can’t say I really like waiting for anything, let alone feedback from a potential client or the offer – or not – of work.

While I take work deadlines very seriously, in nearly every other area of my life I’m usually late for everything. Partly due to having no concept of time and how long it takes to get anywhere, but perhaps also because subconsciously (and selfishly) I can’t stand being early for anything and having to wait around myself.

Anyway I sent the review in and waited, trying to gauge how well the piece was being received by how long it took to get a response. If you hear back too soon then the chances are they either think it’s rubbish and have dismissed it immediately, or they love it and want to hire you straight away.

If it takes ages to hear back from a potential client, then I can’t help thinking they’ve been so uninspired by the work that either they don’t bother getting back to you, or simply forget about you straight away and only reply when clearing out emails a week or so later. Or not at all.

So in my mind, I get most hopeful when I see an email pop up later that day, or the following day after sending work in to a new contact. It means they have read your work, possibly forwarded it on to someone else, and generally shown a decent amount of interest.

And I have to say, I love seeing the email arrive back in my inbox. To me it feels a bit like getting a present. For the moment before you take off the wrapping paper, you never know what is inside – whether it’s going to make you very happy, or leave you disappointed and deflated for the rest of the day.

Anyway, this content editor emailed me back the morning after sending my work in (so far so good). He said he liked it, and that I had chosen a “nice mix” of bars to review. So that was hopeful, but then he went and said he’d be back in touch if his contract with the travel website goes ahead, so maybe not so hopeful.

I’m not really sure what to make of this – whether it’s a fob off and he’d prefer someone who has actually been to Cape Town. Or whether he really means it, and maybe in the New Year I’ll get an offer of regular freelance work. I guess that’s the nature of freelancing though. I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed and carry on looking.