When I talk to folks about my job, which isn't very often, they assume the hardest part of the work is the writing. That's because writing is hard for a lot of people. To me, that's the easy part.
The hardest part of being a professional freelance writer? Gathering my sources.
Oh, lots of people want to be interviewed and feel they have a cause to promote. I send out a request to a place like Profnet, and in the 50 or so responses I get, maybe 2 or 3 are worthwhile. And then, once I begin interviewing, it is apparent that at least 1 person will have a totally different agenda than my article, or maybe all of them will. (And that I will then spend the next year being hounded by PR people is a whole other issue I could write a book about.)
Sometimes my editors will make it simple. They will provide the sources for me. But that's only half the battle. I get promises of interviews, but as the deadline rapidly approaches, the interviews are still being promised but not materializing. That's what I'm dealing with now. It's why my hair is turning gray.
My friends wonder why I spend so much time writing at night. It's because my days are spent tracking down sources.