One of the great things about being a freelance writer is the flexibility.
You set your own hours and one day does not have to look like the next.
Now, there’s a lot to be said for keeping to a consistent schedule. Taking that approach can increase your productivity, reduce your stress, and establish expectations both for your clients and for your friends and family.
Yet there are going to be times when a consistent approach just isn’t the best one.
For example, let’s say you have a kid in school (I do) and they are very active in a sport (I can relate).
If you were working a typical 9-to-5 job, you would have to miss most of their games. Frankly, watching my daughter play soccer is one of my favorite things. Having to miss her games would be heartbreaking. But if the choice came down to going to games or paying the mortgage, the bigger responsibility is to keep a roof overhead than to cheer from the sidelines.
Fortunately, with freelancing, you don’t have to choose.
But that flexibility can be easy to abuse. If you’re knocking off early two days during the week to go to soccer games, you might find yourself falling behind on your commitments to clients. That’s not good. At best, it’s stressful. At worst, it can damage your client relationships.
I’ve found the best way to take advantage of the flexibility that comes with freelancing is to commit to working a certain number of hours a week. For me, the magic number is 30. But it could be 40, it could be 25, it could be 15… heck it could be 12. Nothing says it has to be a multiple of 5.
The trick is figure out your number and then stick to it.
So, at my 30, I normally work six hours a day, usually between 8 and 2:30, with a half-hour lunch. But I feel free to shift that around. For example, last week, I quit work at noon one day to go play Scrabble with my mom. Then I put in two hours after dinner, to make up for that lost time. Sometimes, I work seven or eight hours a day and then take Friday off.
The key for me is to get in my full 30, even if it means working a little on weekends. And also, to let my family know my work plans ahead of time so no one is surprised when I head to the office after dinner or when I sleep in on a Friday.
If you find yourself enjoying the flexibility of freelancing at the expense of your business, then give this approach a try. You’ll be able to take advantage of the freedom to do fun things with your friends and family without missing any deadlines and without adding a lot of stress to the work side of your life.
New on the Site
The self-improvement industry is huge… and it’s a lot of fun to write for. But there are some things you have to keep in mind if you want to succeed with this audience. Here, John Torre shares five important tips for self-help writers.
Does clutter cramp your style? For some people, clutter — whether it’s on your desk, on your computer, or the swirl of thoughts in your mind — can hurt both creativity and productivity. If that’s the case for you, use these quick suggestions from Tracy Wilson to get organized, inside and out.
If you want to create more content… and hone your video script writing skills… and keep writer’s block at bay, then you’ll definitely want to check out this “nonsense method” for doing all of the above.
Mark Your Calendars
September 21: When you put together a website for your freelance web-writing business, you want to be sure it appeals to the right audience. That would be the marketers who will potentially hire you. In this live webinar, Rebecca Matter joins us to share her insights about what a marketer looks for when visiting a writer’s site. Details will be posted soon.
September 27: Our next Practice Assignment will be posted today. The focus is writing promotional email messages. And then on September 27, we’ll take a look at some of the submissions to see what’s working well and what can be stronger. Plan to join us for this live review session! Details will be available shortly.
Around the Web
Website personalization is getting more and more sophisticated. Here are some easy ways to personalize your website based on a visitor’s location.
How to write content people enjoy reading… with examples.
Writing great headlines is a critical skill for any writer. See what makes for a great headline here.
That’s all for now. Make it a great week!