Writer by Day… Treating Your Freelance Career Like the “Real Job” It Is
With most careers you wake up, go to work, get things done, come home and lather, rinse, repeat the next day. However, the life of a freelance writer is much different. One day you may wake up and find you have more work than you can possibly get done due that evening while another day you find yourself with plenty of time and no work at all. Plus, you will have to deal with friends, family and acquaintances who do not acknowledge that what you do really is a career. These issues can make it hard to think of what you do as a real job.
Whether you are new to the freelance game, or you are ready to kick things into high gear, these tips will help you focus and treat freelance writing as the “real job” it is so you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible.
It is impossible to work 9 to 5 as a freelancer and accomplish as much as you possibly can. You will quickly learn that when the best work becomes available you often have to make sacrifices and jump at the chance to make the money when possible. However, setting standard office hours for yourself is a good way to focus and make sure you put in the time you need to do. Plus, when you have normal work hours, it makes it easier to let your loved ones know when you need to work—and need them to give you space.
Your Happy Place
One of the biggest benefits of freelance writing is that you can do it anywhere you have a computer and a wireless connection. Using my little Chromebook, I have worked from my desk, the bed, the couch, the dance studio, an Indian restaurant in Las Vegas and Starbucks—among other places. While I can get work done anywhere, I know that to accomplish the most I should go to Starbucks. For me I work well in an environment where there is noise and commotion around me—but where no one is there to tap me on the shoulder and ask for a sandwich. Determine where you are most comfortable working and consider that your office. If you have a place you associate with getting down to business, you will know where to go when the pressure is on you.
Talk About It!
Like most people who make their living as a freelance writer, I find that most of my friends don’t understand my job. I am not an author. I’m a writer. I will not be releasing a best-seller anytime in the near future, but I do support myself and my daughter using my writing skills. If anyone asks, I work in marketing. If we get to talking, I will tell them about the type of work I do as a freelance web content writer. Most of my loved ones realize that what I do is not easy. When those closest to you understand and respect what you do as a real career, it’s easier for you to treat it as such and become the best freelance writing you can be.
As you grow as a writer you will face roadblocks and you will have to adapt to get ahead. That’s okay! Just concentrate on all the benefits that freelancing brings to you and your family and remember to give yourself credit for the hard days you put into your job. Just because you can do it in your pajamas doesn’t mean it is not important!
Tracy S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.