Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Perfect Work Environment

Freelancing? …What freelancing?

It happens to me every year. “Yeesh, I can’t wait for spring break!” I say. “I’m feeling so burnt out on my students, and I can finally get to all that freelancing stuff I’ve been meaning to do.” 

And every year, instead of doing all that freelancing, I end up filling my days with long walks, family time, good books, and an aching guilt that I’m not doing any of that stuff I said I’d do. Instead of doing a little freelance work each week, I do none. Instead of churning out a blog every day, I forget about it. With no deadline forcing me to stay on my computer, I wander away from it and lose myself in other things.

Here I am again, scrambling to finish (and start) everything I meant to accomplish on spring break, even though it’s over now. It reminds me that having loads of free time doesn’t mean you’ll be more productive— often, it’s quite the opposite. When you feel crunched for time, you’ll work faster and more efficiently. If you’re a writer (or painter or musician or anything else), don’t quit your day job: either turn your passion into the job and work at it with the same discipline and time frames as a “real” job, or else use the focus that a deadline gives you to further your passion. “I don’t have enough time” is not a valid excuse. 

Maybe next year, instead of scheming all the freelancing I’m going to do over spring break, I could just take a break. That way, I would stop feeling guilty about that two weeks of other pursuits, and relax and recharge. It’s a good thought. I should probably listen to myself. But we’ll see how it goes.



  1. How does one get into freelancing? It's something I'd really like to do (freelance editing and the like) but getting there seems to be a matter of contacts and experience--and I can't get experience without having done it first, and contacts seem to be made through getting experience. Catch 22. :/

    1. That's a tricky question— I got in with the help of my author mom when I was 15, so I've had my hand in it for a while. My best advice is to focus on local and highly specific markets first, who often don't care if you have any experience as long as you write well. Look for articles about freelancing online (I've learned a lot this way), and don't be too concerned with making money for a little while. Good luck!