Freelance Writing – When to Take Time Off

One perk to freelancing is that you can decide how busy you want to be. Now the reality is if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Many freelancers have the problem of finding work, any work, that pays. The flip side of the coin is freelancers who have been blessed with work, lots of work. So much work they can’t seem to keep up. They end up working seven days a week just trying not to fall too far behind their deadlines.

How can that happen, you ask? It can happen when freelancers connect with a company that likes them and keeps sending them work. Now this is a good problem to have, but in the long run, it is a problem.

Spending all day, every day at the keyboard is not good for your health, physical, spiritual, or otherwise. Plus, the constant demand to make progress can drain whatever creative energy you have.

Many writers report that when they hit writer’s block, the best thing they can do is walk away. Some take a hot shower, others exercise, and others find alternate activities that help recharge the writing juices. This is a good strategy to stick to even when the work keeps flowing in.

Freelancers need to be aware of their limits. How many words, worthwhile words, can they write in a day? Four thousand? Ten thousand? How many productive hours at the keyboard can they put in before they are merely occupying space and staring blankly at the monitor? Four hours? Six? Twelve?

Everyone is different. Some freelancers are retired and have their entire day to dedicate to their writing. Others, even those who are retired, have family obligations that take precedence over writing.

Freelancers must be honest with themselves. Sure, taking on two more projects means two more paydays, but at what price? Quality of writing? Loss of time with family? Deterioration in health?

Everything in life is a balancing act. Freelancers need to know their limits, such as when to say no to a project or push back the deadline. Freelancers also need to know when they need an actual day or week off.

Heresy? No. Writing is only a part of our life. We can’t write if we make ourselves sick. We should not write to the point that our family suffers.

Bills need to be paid, but that also speaks about what fees the freelancer is charging. Write for too cheap and you’ll never pay your bills. Charge more and you can pay your bills and have time for other important matters.

About Dennis McGeehan

Dennis P. McGeehan is a husband, homeschooling Dad of eight, a Martial Artist, Freelance Writer, Author and Speaker. He is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild. His latest book is titled The Diaries of Joseph and Mary.
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