What you miss when you freelance, and where to find it.

Photo: Courtesy of Carlos Porto, freedigitalphotos.net

Photo: Courtesy of Carlos Porto, freedigitalphotos.net

There’s a reason why water-cooler conversation endures. It’s great way to compare notes or celebrate small victories with someone who gets exactly why the thing you just did (scored an awesome assignment, found a promising story angle, snagged just the right quote or visual, etc.) is so good.

Opportunities to do this come less frequently when you freelance because, odds are, you’re alone most of the day.

I normally love the pace, freedom and solitude that comes from the work-from-home lifestyle. But there are days when I wish I could run to the nearest cubicle and dish on an editor’s reaction to a particularly great (or not so great) piece of writing.

Unfortunately, during those times, the only living being in sight is my 54-pound hound dog, George. And while he may be listening, he’s certainly not talking.

Joining a professional group in your field can help satisfy your need for infrequent water-cooler moments. So can networking informally with others in your chosen field over lunch or coffee. But, if you’re looking for a quicker and cheaper fix, try blogs or podcasts.

I’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s worth repeating. The free Home Work podcast, downloadable at iTunes, is produced by two guys who work from home and want to talk about home-work life with other people. I listen to it regularly, and it really helps me feel like I’m part of a community, not just someone out here doing what I do completely on my own.

I’ve also come across this gem lately (a month late, I’m embarrassed to say), but better late than never. This past November, Susannah Breslin, a freelance journalist, chronicled her daily life on the job for one month. What I love about this series is that she shares the daily challenges even the most experienced freelancers encounter and offers tips she has picked up along the way about how to do it better. Enjoy.

Need more water-cooler moments? Start a conversation on this blog! I’d love to hear from you.

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