It began with a socially awkward hello between two people. Thank god more people showed up.

Does a delayed reply = a no. Does a delay indicate a lack of passion for the project? What are the expectations that we have for ourselves, of venues, and what are their expectations of us. We discussed it being OK to say "sorry for the delay".

We spoke about communicating away from email, using social media and whatsapp and the dark horror being left on "read", the lack of privacy in this way. How as a freelancer there was a blur between our social and work hours. As not having a 9 - 5 makes us more likely to open emails an unusual hours and thus feel the need to reply at unusual hours.

We spoke about the worries of the tone of our emails, and that Grammerly, an advanced spellchecking software will read emails and provide you with an emoji displaying the tone of your email. Is it too intense. Does it need a joke?

We spoke about lone working freelancers, about working together on tasks such as tax returns, creating a working club for the anxious, lets approve each others emails, lets post our awkward experiences of accidentally attaching a nude. We are going to create an open group on Facebook (and potentially other platforms), for anxious freelancers. To join post your socials below and we will get the group up and running.

We spoke of the dramaturgy of email writing, tone, the usage of exclamation marks, how emailing is just replying "i'm sorry for the delay" until one of you dies. We spoke about the urgency of emails. Using a CBT exercise of breaking tasks into 1) Important & Urgent, 2) Important & Not Urgent, 3) not important & Urgent, 4) not important & not urgent.

We spoke about loosing faith and setting boundaries:
- Communication -> How immediate
- Auto Replies
- Set own hours. If you can't do a 9 - 5 can you do 10:45 - 12:08? Treat a time as a work time, arrive early, make yourself a tea and work for that time. Anything left over can be moved to your next slot.
- Be explicit, honest, and transparent (take away the fear of misunderstanding)
- Vulnerability
- Schedule Emails
- Explain the situation, take time, set yourself a deadline
- Prioritise
- People don't often expect an instant response.
- Don't be to apologetic - OWN IT!
- Make Space for yourself.
- Assert interest in the project but give space for a later more detailed reply.
- Create space for yourself
- Take advantage of the good days
- Be ok with the bad ones (If you would call in sick to your day job you can call in sick to this job. IT'S STILL A JOB)
- Enforce a work/job attitude
- Reward systems (the reward of a day job is getting paid, if that's not happening with your art job give yourself a different reward)
- Create a false PA email (preferably called Martin, that way when he doesn't reply it's Martin's fault)
- 'Xero' & 'Quickbooks' can send those awkward invoice emails for you.

We spoke about the power of the venue vs the power of the artists and how freelances have to carry the whole burden.

The session was called by:
Andrew Martin Lee (Artistic Director: The Midnight Florist Collective)
[email protected]