It’s no secret that as a freelance writer you have to make things work. Writing assignments and deadlines occur at any hour of the day or night and you frequently find yourself in a pinch between getting much-needed sleep, or staying up and trying to focus on words that just don’t seem to come quick enough.
There are many times when you’ll find a number of writers up at 3 a.m. on the comment boards because they are working on an assignment or just can’t sleep because they have too much on their plate and those deadlines are giving them a sense of dread. That’s when you realize you’re not alone.
Although being your own boss, taking control of your destiny, and filling the universe with your witty words and fluid content sounds like a great life plan, there are times when you want to throw in the towel and scream, “I’m going to bed!” So, how does that really work? If you have a number of deadlines that cannot be ignored, there’s no way in hell you will be able to accomplish that. Of course, writers everywhere talk about time management and choosing when they write, but when you’re a full-time writer and you have to pay bills, all that “fluffy” stuff goes straight out the window.
Burning the midnight (or wee morning) oil may not be something that you want to do on a consistent basis, because the body does need sleep, but the life of a writer is definitely not a 9 to 5. When you have a busy life, you slowly start to conform to focusing on what has to get done, and that happens at whatever time you can do it.
It’s always refreshing to hear someone say they’ve taken a vacation. Truth is, I take my laptop with me wherever I go to meet those deadlines. I don’t know the meaning of a full night’s sleep and haven’t in a very long time, but it’s the path I’ve chosen. Dealing with clients in different time zones and countries will often warrant a question or revision at 4 a.m. God forbid you have a revision and it’s due in a couple of hours and you had no clue because you were sleeping. Things like this happen every day, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Being a true freelance writer is in your blood, and you can’t function properly if you weren’t able to do it. For those who understand where I’m coming from (the lurkers at 3 a.m.), I understand your pain, frustration and adrenaline because the life of a writer is constantly changing, evolving and teaching new things every day. I’m tired as hell right now, and I need some sleep, so for all you writers who can relate, guess what? “I’m going to bed!”
Allaire W is a professional writer with a love for the written word and a sweet tooth that turned a hobby into a business. You can find her “cooking” up assignments while covered in flour or cake batter.