Freelancing. Oh it’s good to work to your own schedule and not be chained to an office desk. But sometimes loneliness/cabin fever creep in and I find myself craving colleagues and conversation.

Not long after I started freelancing I realised I needed a network, for social as much as business purposes. I found the Meetup website and, lo and behold, there were hundreds of groups, for just about every interest and curiosity you can think of.

It was the appealingly alliterative name that first caught my eye. Then the relaxed description (Dress code: At least change out of your pyjamas :-)). The fact it mentioned drinks and conversation, but not networking (not my idea of a relaxing Friday night). So I headed to Freelance Friday one summer’s night. And am I glad I did!

Freelance Friday takes place in different pubs in Edinburgh and attracts a really interesting, friendly and creative bunch of people. People from all walks of life and from across the world, who all bring a unique energy. It’s very relaxed. Some people come for one drink, some stay until closing time.

It’s reminded me how precious it is to mark the end of the working week (or just have a break before weekend working) with a glass of wine, a stimulating conversation or two, and a laugh. Freelance Friday is useful for discussing work-related stuff, for finding out about other groups or opportunities, plus I’ve sold a few copies of my book to people I’ve met there. But as the night progresses conversations move from work to the wider world, so it’s always an interesting and enjoyable evening.

Freelance Friday works especially well, I think, for a couple of reasons. Obviously people who go work for themselves, so are generally quite self assured. But they are friendly and curious too. Otherwise what would be the point of meeting a group of strangers in a pub? And most people go on their own which means no ready made ‘cliques’ and everyone is on the same level.

So, I really recommend Freelance Friday and indeed checking out other groups on Meetup. There’s a lot happening in cities across the UK and beyond, offering the chance to meet new people, get new ideas and experience different environments and perspectives – vital things for any creative, productive freelancer.