I really do love Christmas. It’s the one time of year when everything just seems to work perfectly.
Families get together and don’t argue. We spend more time with friends than at most other times during the year. There’s the chance to kick back, relax and recharge your batteries. And (the one thing I’ve done a lot of this year already), there’s the opportunity to look back on the past 12 months and beyond.
Leading us into the purpose of this blog post, today, I want to help you get the most from your freelance writing career in 2013 by telling you something that I truly realised only this week.
As you’re likely to know, I’m a huge fan of freelance writing. In fact, I’d say I love it. I’ve been doing it for several years now and although I write only minimally on a freelance basis today, my career has developed and expanded so much over the past few years all because of freelance writing.
Starting by accident when I came across a post in a forum asking for someone to write about a topic I was interested in, my career basically snowballed. It soon got to the point where I was producing around 60,000 words of content every month.
I wasn’t getting paid handsomely for it, but I wasn’t getting paid poorly either. What was important was that I was enjoying the work and as a result, I was earning a very respectable second-income – I was already working a 40 hour week in a different, unrelated role.
Over time, the amount of work I took on decreased and at the end of 2010, my career started to develop in a different way – first into a blogger for a company, next working in online communications and then on to my present position as a SEO specialist focusing on content production.
In some ways, I miss the freelance writing, as I loved writing on various topics on a regular basis. I was more active than I am now in the freelance writing community and although it was tiring, it was particularly enjoyable. And it definitely was tiring – after working my 40 hours Monday to Friday, I’d spend every evening and most of the weekend writing. I didn’t really get chance to rest properly, but being a sucker for money, I couldn’t say no to a client.
This week, however, I realised that I didn’t just love freelance writing and adore the whole process, but I worshipped it – and it actually started to have a negative effect on my personal life.
Think of it like this. I was working around 80 hours a week; probably close to 90 when you take into account commuting time. There are 168 hours in a week, so after I’ve deducted the 90, that leaves 78. Take off 56 hours for sleep (at 8 hours a day) and we’re left with 22 hours. That’s 22 hours – or just over 3 per day – to do absolutely everything else. From shopping and showering through to eating and general chores, it left next to no time to see my friends, family or fiancé.
It’s pretty obvious how this could have turned out, right?
The reason why this came to light just this week was that it has started to happen again. Thankfully, it’s only on a temporary basis on the run up to Christmas, as I’m aiming to get as much done beforehand as possible. However, I’ve spent next to no time with my fiancé over the last 10 days and truthfully, I hate it. It’s not good for me, it’s not good for her and it’s not good for our relationship.
As I said, this is only temporary – fortunately – but it has made me realise that previously, it could have all ended so, so badly.
By all means, adore freelance writing. Talk about it round the clock and strike up relationships with as many other writers as you can. It will only benefit your career and you’ll see some fantastic benefits as a result.
But whatever you do, don’t worship it to the extent that it’s the only thing you think of morning, noon and night. You need to be able to spend time with your family or simply do something else that you enjoy. No matter how much you feel devoting as much time as possible to freelance writing will benefit your career, it’s likely to be to the extent that you become particularly lonely.
I really do want all freelance writers to succeed and the reason I’m telling you this today is because to be as successful as you can be, you need to have the right work-life balance – you might become the best freelance writer out there, but if you’ve got no friends or family to enjoy the benefits with, what’s the point of it?
With the holidays just around the corner, I hope you all have a fantastic time. Spend it with friends, family or simply doing something you love.