Balancing Family and Freelance Writing
Working as a freelance writer part-time can provide extra income to a household or full-time can provide an income source when no other job may be available or desirable. However, that doesn’t mean a writer’s family will always treat freelance work with the same respect. Understanding how to respond to different generations can help make life easier, as well as finding the time to get work done.
Dealing With Parents
Parents inevitably stick their noses into their adult kids’ business, usually without tact, often sharing their opinion of what a child should do with a career and work even when it’s not asked for. Granted, well-meaning parents are usually just trying to help in their own way, but the comments frequently create irritation in a freelance writer. The trick to shutting down this sort of interference is to prove how successful the freelance work is as a home business. Older generations generally have little to complain about with a child who successfully owns and lives off his own business. After all, older parent generations frequently complain people should earn their own keep.
Dealing With Kids
Young children are particularly susceptible to the demands of freelance work, requiring time in the evenings and weekends which takes away from family time. The rationale of work, contracts, bills to pay and similar doesn’t make sense to them. And pushing off a child too many times can create a permanent injury, even though the freelance work is just as important. Fortunately, young children love schedules and “Daddy or Mommy” time, so having a dedicated time window set can help balance out their needs.
Older children, on the other hand, like to disappear with their friends or in their rooms. So the challenge here is to remember to take breaks from work to go looking for them. The attention is still critical for their development as teens, but now the parent/writer has to be proactive. A teen child doesn’t often go looking for parent time on his own. Again, having a set time in the day to commit to a teen helps provide regularity and daily communication, which breaks down a lot of family conflict.
Dealing With a Spouse
Probably the most challenge family member is the spouse who is jealous of lost time with a partner. There are very few press release writer rates that can offset an upset marriage partner. While most spouses have no objection to the extra income brought in, they may still object to the time it takes to produce that money. The two factors tend to be a contradiction to the writer who has to commit the time and sweat to produce the money in the first place. Regular communication on a daily basis helps partially alleviate the strain, but a writer still has to know when to cut back for peace in the home.
In the same vein, the spouse has to be reminded to sacrifice a bit to protect the household financially, especially when the writing is the main income used to pay the bills. Writers have to make it clear the income doesn’t magically appear on its own. Communicating regularly helps reduce friction and planning time well ahead of needs helps tremendously.
There’s no perfect standard for how to deal with family to obtain respect for freelance work. Writers have to rely on regular communication and scheduled time to balance family needs with work needs. Not doing so leads to family conflict and anger which can then cause unnecessary arguments and hurt, and no one—no matter what their job is—needs that!
Tom L is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.