Monday, August 11, 2008

Balancing A Freelance Writing Business and a Social Life

I'll admit it – I really let my social life slide over the past year as I developed my freelance writing business. When I wasn't taking care of my family, I ate drank and slept my work. I was constantly thinking about the clients, projects and deadlines with anxiety over where the next meal was coming from. I was a woman obsessed. I had transformed into this hermit who rarely left her computer and was forever checking email messages – my watched pot. When I started feeling burned out, I was convinced something had to change. I immediately called up one of my best girlfriends and made a much needed date. Sadly it had been so long since I had done anything just for me that my children cried when I told them mommy was going out to see a movie and have lunch with her friend.

I call myself showing my children by example how important it is to pursue your dreams, and it is. But there must also be some balance in your life as well. People need people – and that's not just some corny slogan from back in the day. It's true.

I realized that I shouldn't be working round the clock just to meet my goals. I needed to start working much smarter instead. I mean I want to be able to take a few days off now and then. I went into business for the freedom and independence as much as anything else. That freedom should give me more opportunities to spend time with my friends and family.

As human beings, we are social creatures by nature – some more than others, but relationships are an important part of our lives. They even affect health to some degree. Studies show that friendships actually improve health, so it's important to balance your freelance writing business with a social life. Here are a few tips to help get the ball rolling:

Establish regular office hours and stick to them. This means remaining productive throughout the work day, remaining on task and eliminating distractions.

Schedule "me time" on a regular basis. Whether it's going out alone for the day or getting together with friends; make time to do the things you love to do on a regular basis. This can give you a real mental pick me up.

Schedule time with your family regularly. During the summer months our family likes to frequent the drive in. It's the cheapest way for us to enjoy the summer blockbusters. We load up the van with pizza and other yummy snacks after giving the kids a bath (they wear their pajamas). When we get home they can brush their teeth and go straight to bed. Lovely.

Work out. If you belong to a gym or the YMCA, your daily work out can also give you the chance to meet other people while you are getting in shape. Don't neglect your health. You should try to work out each day for at least 30 minutes if possible. You will have more energy, feel more confident and creative – all benefits for your freelance writing business.

Take a day off now and then. Give yourself a day of rest away from clients and stressful projects now and then. Relax; it will all still be there tomorrow.


Lori said...

Oh, this is so true. I'm a believer in pricing oneself right. If a freelancer can price the projects fairly and correctly, there shouldn't be any need for huge amounts of overtime.

Avid Writer said...

Yes, Lori, I am finally understanding. Slowing but surely I'm making some necessary changes.

Erin Melanie said...

This is some great advice. In my case, I need to find balance leaning towards work, rather than social life. It's definitely so important to be accountable to all areas of life, to be well-rounded and healthy.

Avid Writer said...

Yeah, erin, balance is definately a two way street. It's a real challenge regardless of which side of the line you fall. Thanks for stopping by.

Valencia Higuera said...

Working around the clock is a mistake I think all freelance writers make in the beginning. For me, it was the thrill of being able to work from home and control my income. I was able to pay my bills, plus pay off debts and start a savings account. I couldn't believe how easy it was to make money from home. But like most people, I experienced burn out and I had to find a balance.

Telecommuting Diva

Avid Writer said...

Valencia, I agree. Lesson learned! :)

Designed by Lena