My year so far has been a mix of swarms and dry spells in regard to work-related writing.
How have the first six months of 2014 been for you?
Ebbs and flows aren’t any surprise for a freelance writer, or probably any self-employed person. There’s only so much we can predict with certainty, and even that can change, right?
You’re probably familiar with the quote “The best laid plans…”. And it’s so applicable to freelance writing (or life in general) because no matter how well we plan and get our tasks mapped out, there are an infinite amount of things that can detour us.
This can sound like a stressful way to live or run a business, but I think it’s easiest to accept that change is a constant and know that challenges will pop up in new and creative ways — all the time. If you accept change as a constant in itself, your mindset shifts accordingly.
- Plan – without a plan to your goal you won’t get anywhere, so a plan is required
- Stay focused – keep your major goal front-and-center at all times
- Expect the best – from your clients and yourself
- Think positive – everything works out one way or another
- Bob and weave (don’t duck and run) – when change comes, go with your Plan B or backup plan (see first point) to get back on the path
Other things that I do include:
- Talking with other small business owners (similar experiences alleviate the ‘all alone’ feeling)
- Keeping task lists in front of me – when slow times come or a client doesn’t get to back to me on time, I always have something to do
- Save extra money during fruitful times – to alleviate stress during slow times
- Savor the minutes where there is a slow period and remember them when I’m so busy I barely have time to eat
- Exercise – it’s so easy to sit and when stressed or worried and that slows not only the metabolism down, but brain function – exercise keeps the blood flowing, the metabolism moving, and ideas ready to pop up when needed
When a week comes along (and it does) that goes exactly as planned, it’s as sweet as a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie. And, yum, I do savor those times (as much as the cookie), for when a super-busy week or a super-slow week comes along.
Having a plan to reach a goal is what keeps everything ultimately moving in the right direction – because without a plan you won’t know how to get back on the right track when life tosses you the unexpected.
How do you cope with the unpredictability of being a freelance writer (or being self-employed)? I’d love to know.
Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. Even though she knows her schedule can change any minute, she enjoys the writing life and the mystery of it all. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.