The Luxuries of Freelance Writing Life

Me at the gorge cropped

My favorite music genre being Sad Guy With A Guitar And a Story To Tell, my favorite band is naturally Bon Iver. They’re coming to play at The Gorge, my favorite venue, and so I must go.

What Bon Iver sounds like

+ what the Gorge feels like


If one were so inclined, she could purchase all kinds of add-ons to the ticket, closer parking or a lawn chair, etc. One option offers access to what’s called The Cliff House, promising “THE VIP TREATMENT: Private club with bar and private restrooms. Enjoy all the VIP amenities and access before and during the show. Be the envy of everyone with this exclusive access.”

It’s $80 per person, on top of the ticket price, which would be $180 if I could afford to buy second-row seats and still pay my health insurance, but will actually be more like $50 with my boyfriend and me on the back lawn with our binoculars and our cooler of home food.

As a freelance writer, I don’t buy VIP access. I time it.

My luxury is what I might call VIP Time.

As someone who bought a house in Florida in 2005, I can assure you that timing serves an important function in the world of economics. As a freelance writer, I might not have the digits necessary to buy luxury, but I get a lot in the form of T.

Here’s an example of how time works in the freelance writer’s favor:

I’m dating an adorable norm with a 9-to-5. Lately, there’s been a lock-down on overtime, so he’ll be just about forced to take a day off after a few 11-hour sprints of work. Such was the case last week, when he found out last minute he’d have to take Monday off.

On Saturday, we prepped camping gear and headed out, borrowed his second-cousin’s kayaks and bought groceries plus three bundles of firewood for $5 each, then found the last spot at Glacier View Campground, and set up camp with tents dotting down the beach.

On Sunday morning, the place emptied out while I burned the last of our purchased wood for my coffee. I wondered if anyone had left any. I found a bunch by an empty fire pit, and while carrying it back, another group packing up offered me theirs. As the chipmunks searched for crumbs under picnic tables, I walked around foraging for firewood. By the time my boyfriend woke up, I had amassed a stack of what might have cost us $30 on Friday evening, sitting there for free on Sunday afternoon.

A pyro — as a kid I had to be threatened with forced volunteer work at a burn unit if I didn’t stop playing with fire — I was delighted.

Everyone else prepared for their workweek back at their homes, and things turned luxury for us out in nature. We had the VIP treatment: a private campground, and access to a lake like glass all around us. I know I would have been the envy of myself, circa 2012, when I realized in my cubicle that I wasn’t allowed to leave the building on a sunny day, even if I’d rather work during the rainy weekend.

I wrote my morning pages and read a craft book, being an artist under trees that didn’t care what day it was.

By Monday, the campground was our personal VIP lounge. We had booked the entire place. No lines at the bathroom. So many of the promises of VIP available to us simply because we had the ability to scoot our workday back 24-hours.

Next Saturday, a holiday weekend, I’ll work while the rest of the world descends on nature during their allotted extra day.

VIP-T means that we get so many of the benefits that cost more, simply by being able to live off-peak time. And while the numbers in our bank account might not show a sum that can purchase luxury, we still get it in this way.

We can grocery shop in wide-open, 11 a.m. aisles.

We can drive traffic-free roads.

We can fly on days when the lines don’t wrap around the security check.

One definition I’ve heard of luxury is anything that feels special. That’s how my Monday felt.

Do you get to live off-peak. If so, what’s your favorite aspect of VIP Time?

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