Andrea Abbott is impulsive and enthusiastic, optimistic, a daydreamer, coffee addict (who isn’t?), and expert procrastinator – but a perfectionist in her work (although her riotously chaotic desk speaks otherwise).
She is wife to John, mother to Ross and willing slave to His Royal Feliness. She is also a conservationist on a mission to persuade lawn and order garden devotees to allow their gardens to be wild and free.
Please tell us more about what you do and how long you’ve been a freelancer.
I’ve been a freelancer for about 25 years and am firstly a story writer. My journalism work tells the stories of people of note, ordinary heroes, interesting places and fabulous destinations, and champions of biodiversity. I’ve also written about 30 children’s books under a couple of pseudonyms for a London ‘package publisher,’ and two titles ̶ Desert Prisoner and I Will Help You (the latter for the wonderful Book Dash organisation) ̶ under my own name.
My writing aside, I also offer proofreading and editing services, which I honed over more than a decade of teaching tertiary level students language and communications skills.
What does a day in your life look like?
This is hard to say because I’m not a creature of habit. Much depends on what’s going on at any time. If I have work, once I’m done with procrastinating I’ll be wedded to my desk until the job is done, or the day has ended. If I don’t have work, I’ll start the day with every intention of tidying my desk but instead spend a lot of time gazing at my riotously wild and free garden.
Where/how do you find inspiration?
In the bath! As soon as I lie back in a deep, warm bath, and without me even thinking about anything in particular, new ideas and solutions come to me. It’s as if being totally relaxed is the tonic my grasshopper-type brain needs. I’m sure psychologists can explain this better than I can.
What advice do you have for other freelancers?
Freelance work can be lonely and demands immense self-discipline, and it can be hard to find new clients. To balance that, you need to build a network and also take up every opportunity to learn new skills – join Safrea! This way you won’t fall into the trap of putting all your eggs in one basket.
How long have you been a Safrean, and why are you a member of Safrea?
I joined Safrea about six years ago to widen my network, draw on the support, experience, and wisdom of professional colleagues, and benefit from the credibility that membership of Safrea confers.
What is your work/life motto?
Grab every new opportunity that presents itself, and never give up.