There are times I think that being a freelancer is just another way to say "I'm a workaholic." Without the security of a day job to pay my bills, I keep a constant running count of cash flow in my head (as well as in Microsoft Money). My goal is always to have the next month's rent in the bank by the 15th of the month. If I don't, I kick into a higher gear, take on some editing gigs, write some book reviews for paying sites, scour the internet for paying markets for short stories, check my amazon sales stats obsessively. (I know, that last one is not particularly productive but I find it soothing.)
When I'm in "get the rent" mode, I am a machine. I can work most people under the table. Except my brother.
My brother makes me look like a sloth. He's an attorney, a sole practitioner based in northern Virginia. He's so busy it's a wonder his head doesn't explode. And on top of that, he has a family and two cats. I know how busy he is so outside of copying him on every single email I send out with a link to a story, I don't ask him to read everything I write. But he does. Which makes me happier than I can tell you.
He may not always like my stories, but he reads them. And when I sent him the story I'm submitting to the Machine of Death 2 anthology (there's still time to submit, see guidelines here), he vetted it for proper courtroom procedure. (I've been called for jury duty twice but never served, and everything else I know about the judicial system I learned from watching trials on TV.) It's a much better story now. I got lucky with my family. I know a lot of people who didn't.
So this is a shout-out to my brother. Thanks Rob.