I'm out of runway. My freelancing stint never really took off the way it was supposed to. It's my failure: I simply didn't pursue work hard enough. So it's taken two and a half years to eat through my savings buffer that I was willing to sacrifice for this experiment, and now I'm at the end of the runway and the lift isn't there. Own damn fault.
Oh well, it was like a nice long holiday. I got a little certificate out of the inaugural 6.002x course that is now part of edX. I finally earned my amateur radio licence. Worked a lot on my gEDA fork. Wasted a bunch of time playing the mother of all Freeciv games with an eye to animating the replay of a minimap-like view. Spent a good bit of time with my niece over the 2011/2012 summer. Learned a lot about bitcoin, and refreshed my knowledge about cryptography in general in the process. Figured out how to take credit card payments for merchants through Payfast.
But it was too much fun and not enough work-work. Dull, boring, and frustrating work that yet pays the bills. The straw that breaks this camel's back is when I started noticing that Rocketseed (my ex employer and my anchor client over the duration of this freelancing experiment) started taking their time paying me. When Zanap was still in charge of accounts, I'd get my money within a few days of sending her the invoice. But the new regime was to pay me on the very last day of the month (or even missing that) even when my work for them was done, committed, and pushed by the first few days of the month.
I don't have the energy anymore, in this iteration of the experiment, to try and encourage more prompt payments. Besides, getting my invoices paid quicker only puts off the problem for a short while: my living expenses are slightly higher than what I'm earning. Unless a miracle happens and tomorrow my inbox is overflowing with people asking me to conjure up some C for them, I need to do the realistic thing and take the low-risk option now instead of doubling down on my bet like a gambler.
So I'm now on the job market. Let someone else figure out how to turn value into money, and just give me a regular payslip. What I've been doing hasn't been working, so it's time to try something else. At least for a while, so I can build a new runway and try again later.