No matter how much you love your writing business, there are days, weeks and months when you don’t feel motivated. To be fair, this can happen at different stages. For me, it’s happened:
- when I was starting out and realized how much work I’d have to do to have a sustainable income at the pitiful rates some people were offering for writing services.
- when I’d successfully landed some add-on services and realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do.
- when I’d been working so hard that I could barely muster a creative thought.
This last one comes up from time to time and is closely related to burnout. There’s a definite sense that you’re on some sort of writing treadmill and you daren’t hit the stop button in case you go flying off the end, tanking your writing business or career.
So how do you beat those blues and fall in love with writing again? I’ve tried lots of things:
- playing hooky for an afternoon to curl up with my favorite book or taking a longer break if I need it.
- shooting the breeze with other freelance friends and exchanging tales of woe.
- powering through and trying to ignore the feeling (trust me, this doesn’t work; it only gets bigger).
Reassessing Your Writing Business
The first two might help for a while, but what if the malaise runs deeper? What if you have the feeling that you’ve taken a wrong turn in your business? You know what I say? So what if you have? It’s not a world-ending mistake. Just take a deep breath and start again. For me, that process involves:
- assessing what I like and dislike about the business I have today.
- thinking about how to stage an exit from the aspects I dislike.
- planning for marketing to win more of the business I like.
The assessment part is the most important and it’s equally important to be honest. This is not about what you FEEL you should do; it’s about what you WANT to do. Let’s face it: we freelance and run our own businesses because we want a certain kind of life. If our business isn’t serving that goal, what is it for? Dare to dream about what your ideal business and work schedule might look like, then work out how to make it happen.
Sometimes it can be scary to let go a part of your business, but I like to think of it as making room for something else to come in. This has worked for me every single time (though I’ll admit that sometimes it takes a while for the new improved replacement to show up). And you don’t even have to risk alienating your current clients. You already know a few people who do what you do – one of them might love the bit you hate. Sound them out, get their agreement and then present your client with a plan for a phased withdrawal of your services, complete with integration of your replacement – everyone’s happy.
Then there’s the third part: thinking about the aspects of your business that make you happy. For me – and I suspect for most writers – it’s that happy marriage of getting paid well to write about something that really interests you.
Here’s what you can do today:
- Look through your clips and find the ones that you really enjoyed, then move them to the top of your portfolio or samples list.
- Link to a great example in your email signature.
- Share another via social media, especially LinkedIn, where all the business people (read: potential clients) hang out.
Let people see the work you can do that you want to do more of. That’s marketing, baby, and it’s relatively easy. You know what else I do? In addition to sharing my articles regularly, every now and then I’ll resurrect a well-trafficked post and talk about what I enjoyed about it – you never know who might be listening.
My 2013 Writing Biz Reboot
As it happens, I’m in the middle of a reboot myself, after feeling a bit jaded towards the end of last year. I’ve focused on a few areas to grow and change my writing business in 2013.
First, I’m going to improve my marketing skills via taking part in the Play at Home version of Prosperity’s Kitchen and a couple of Facebook groups dealing with marketing.
That will help with my second goal: to get that dratted course finished and launched, finally!
Third, to work more with a few of the really nice clients I started working with in the last quarter of the year, who are really a dream come true, work-wise.
Get all three of those right and I’ll have improved income and work-life balance in 2013. I’m already feeling inspired and am loving the writing biz once again. How do you beat the motivational blues?
This post is part of the awesomeness that is the Word Carnival, originated by the fabulous Tea Silvestre, the Word Chef. Click the link to read more posts on this month’s theme: Beat The Motivation Blues: Reboot, Re-Energize And Learn To Love Your Business Again.