This topic is popping up everywhere, because most writers seem to have something to say about it. Many of the posts I've written lately have been about coping rejection and bad days but I'm going to take those topics, one step further, by looking at it from a slightly more personal perspective because the "keeping your sanity as a writer" thing has been invading everywhere from my LinkedIn Profile to Career Addict, a UK based website I currently write for.
I feel like I constantly have to remind people that although approximately 95% of the content that shows up on my social media pages is positive, and although those comments are genuine, the negative aspects are rarely talked about on social media because I'm fully aware of how public it is; sometimes, like everyone else I'll have days that are straightforwardly awful, and make me seek the soothing sound of my loved ones' voices, as they gently remind me that I'm doing the right thing.
Disclaimer: this topic is one of those google topics that triggers a lot of hits so keep in mind that this is my personal perspective, therefore there's no pressure to interpret this as something you "ought to do." Everytime I write a how to article I often think to myself: "will people really see this as THE
one and only way to do whatever I'm giving them advice on?" Oddly enough, when I write those articles my ideal reader is someone that's super smart and opinionated that will take bits and pieces of what I have to say, while adding something to it that only they would do. So this what I find helps me keep my sanity, whenever dealing with the not so great parts of freelance writing:
1) Running Helps, And So Does Walking:
Everyone who knows me well knows that on a typical day I often incorporate long distance runs and/or walks into my routine. Staying fit is just an additional perk, and I'm comfortable enough in my own skin to not really care about maintaining a specific weight. Want to know why I "really" run and walk a lot? I find that if I start my day off with either a run, or even a walk to the nearest coffee shop my ability to focus, my positivity, my energy, and my ability to really excel at tuning into my thought process, even on my slow/not so great days goes up significantly. If i start my day off by walking around the block with mellow and/or upbeat tunes, or I go for a nice brisk jog the endorphins do wonders for my mood, which makes working from home a lot more enjoyable. One of the most important life lessons I learned from growing up with a dad who acts full time is that exercise does wonders in more ways than you can possibly imagine. I always know it's his slow period when he decides to go to the local Y, in the middle of the day, on a weekday, and he always seems a lot happier afterwards.
2) People Are Great:
As I mentioned in previous blog entries, and many writers already know writing can get really, really lonely. There's no one at the water cooler everyday to talk to, which can be awesome: (pajama work days anyone?), but it can also be really isolating. While everyone else is at school or work, writers are working quietly on their keyboards. I'm extremely introverted which means I love my alone time but at the same time if I don't spend at least some time, on a weekly basis, talking to people, my productivity and focus level drops dramatically, and my ability to do something that's so essential in order to survive as a professional writer, not taking rejection and critical feedback personally, drops significantly. Fortunately I have a great support/social network, that supports me unconditionally and does their best to be there for me: (kudos to my lovely family, boyfriend, and friends who consistently love and support me no matter what.) Not everyone has that, and I did have a brief, lonely period during my first couple months of freelancing so all I have to say is if you don't have a solid social network take a class, or join a group, and commit to going to it at least once a week; there are cheap, and sometimes free ones listed on meetup.com and on local community centres and libraries' bulletin boards and websites.
3) When it gets slow be proactive
Something I quickly learned about freelancing in the digital age is that everything that counts as selling your idea, or hooking a potential client counts as working, even when you're not actively working on a project relating to whatever your area of expertise is. Updating my LinkedIn or Gravatar profile counts as working, and yes even this blog post you're reading right now counts as working because I'm fully aware that potential and current clients, who are interested in working with me will most likely find, and read this post eventually, and will be eager to read whatever I have to say on Twitter, and my LinkedIn Profile. Recently when I searched "freelance writers on LinkedIn" via google i noticed that I made it to the top 25 list, and that's when I knew that all that time I'd spent updating my LinkedIn profile really paid off.
Some freelance writers hate pitching but I love it in fact I've had enough practice with the formula required to pitch an idea, or skill set that it's like monotonous clockwork, really, really relaxing clockwork; many of my favourite projects thus far started as surprise, unexpected replies to pitches that got an editor's or a business owner's attention. On my slow days it makes me feel like I'm really helping set the wheel of progress in motion, and on my not so slow days it has the same effect so pitch away, my friends!
4) When All Else Fails I'll Email People I've already worked with and/or people who expressed interest
When they've suddenly stopped emailing the easiest solution is to assume the worst but people are also human, and sometimes life gets in the way and they forget things, despite their good intentions. I think freelancers experience this everyday because we're the ones having to gently nudge people for overdue paycheques, and feedback that's taking an absurd amount of time. Often you'll get an answer, and even if it's bad news, at least you're not being left in suspense. More often than not my "gentle nudge" style emails make people courteously reply with a polite "oops, I forgot my bad, here's what's next, and/or whatever I owe you" response. One of my gentle nudge emails even got me my own column today but that's the first time that happened. If it's a "thanks but no thanks" replying professionally and politely, can sometimes cause them to keep you in mind for something else in the future.
As I finish writing this it's nearly one in the morning. A member of the Freshbooks marketing team emailed me today with a blog post idea, on how Freshbooks can help writers. I don't normally take suggestions from companies, on what to say on my blog, nor do i write blog entries based on the suggestions of others but I'm a major supporter of Freshbooks, and this perfectly aligns with the Rosie writing space values and interests. I'm also genuinely interested in both Freshbooks, and giving my perspective on invoice software for writers overall. Stay tuned for my first Rosie Writing Space Freshbooks discussion.