Do you remember those days when the thought of escaping the office and the torture of a 9 to 5 pay-the-bills-job to sit at home in your pajamas was enough to make you nearly unbearable to be around?
Remember dreaming of having nothing more pressing to worry about on any given day than sipping coffee and pouring out thoughts on paper after leisurely reading the paper and sending out some very non-urgent Tweets?
Remember the flutter your heart felt when you thought about writing all day long and writing about whatever you wanted to, not what somebody shoved down your throat for you to write?
Remember being flirtatious with your computer? Or maybe even more scandalous–being flirtatious with pen and paper?
If a love of writing was what propelled you into becoming a freelancer, read on.
In the Beginning
The life of a freelancer, for all intents and purposes, is typically much more romantic when being stared at from the outside in. Freedom filled. Passionate. Mysterious. Intriguing. Sexy.
You know what it felt like, yeah?
And then, then you made the plunge. More likely than not, you tossed aside a steady, reliable paycheck. A desk at an office with colleagues. A set schedule. A per quota daily minimum. Assignments delivered to your hand.
Instead, you jumped headfirst into this world we know as a “freelancer.” You attached it to your name proudly, like a pin or treasured family heirloom. Jocelyn Anne. Freelancer. Creative extraordinaire. Personal boss with personal time and a schedule that has no schedule. Bring it!
And, I’m going to be willing to bet, in the beginning, you adored it. Adored the vacation-like feel. Adored scouting out articles you actually wanted to write or cared to write. You fell in love with your writing and took that to an even deeper level. When we have the capacity to dive in and to embrace our passion with such unreserved fervor, it is magical.
It’s when the bills start coming, the leads start dwindling, and we find ourselves becoming lonely within our home and missing the companionship of our colleagues that we can begin to fall right out of love.
The End of the “Honeymoon”
Somewhere along the way, the computer becomes a source of dread and the internet a mockery of our attempt to find “just one more” person willing to accept or at the very least, even give our writing a glance.
It can be a cold, cruel world out there for freelancers. A mean world where even your own kindred spirits are fighting you head on for the same pitch.
This is when it gets ugly. It’s a bad breakup. You followed your heart, and you got let down. Dumped. And now, you’re broke, lacking prospects and feeling beat down and ego-less.
(Not to be a downer or anything, really.)
There’s Still Hope
What I’m here to tell you is that there’s hope. If you’ve been here, are here, or are worried about being here, you shouldn’t fear. It’s love.
Like with anything, you heal, and you move on. Like a marriage, writing takes work. I know, I’m being cheesy but stick with me here.
When the parts of a significant other seem to vanish or become lost, the spark easily starts to fade. That’s why happy couples have date nights no matter how long they’ve been together. Why they sit down and catch up, even if they couldn’t feel less like talking or catching up. That’s why they invest time in their partner even though the only thing they want is their own time. And you know what? They fall back in love and they stay in love, because they’re dedicated.
Find Your Love of Writing
If you’re over your love of writing, then you’re just gonna have to suck it up and get back in the game. Yes, I’m going to tell you to get romantic with writing again.
Clearly the normal sitting down at the kitchen table and banging your head against the screen isn’t sexy or exciting. So, plan a date night. Make dinner, set the mood. I’m talking candles and your favorite writing music, that I’m guessing, you haven’t pulled out in awhile.
Make it a point to do all the things you imagined loving to do as a freelancer. Put aside the panic of working 24 hours a day and sleep in tomorrow. Sip your coffee. Play online. Get inspired by the artwork at the local museum.
When you find yourself doing the things you thought you’d do and loving it, it will help sustain you when you sit down again to write. It will make the uncertainty of the job worth it all over again.
Try a new tactic to rekindle the spark. Write about something you never write about. This isn’t going to win a Pulitzer prize, the point is that it’s going to get you back in the groove, back into the place where it thrills you to see the words form on the screen before you and where you sit back amazed that those just came from your mind.
Use a new voice if you need to. Pick an alias, weave a background and a future for your pen name and write out of that persona. When you bore yourself, you’ve definitely reached the point where you’re going to have to make a cross over and find someone else. It’s like a shopping trip for a new date. Doll it up and feel good about yourself again. We all know the miracle a makeover and hairdo has on our confidence, so too can a new name for a writer.
Start to love what you’re doing again, more so than loving what “it” is that you do. You won’t necessarily always love being a freelancer. But, you can always love writing. That’s easy. You’ve done it before and you can do it again, no problem.
Go stir up the sparks, light the fire, and get to work!
Has the excitement of being a freelance writer faded? What will you do to find your love of writing again?