I once heard a trainer tell WWE hopefuls that being a professional wrestler isn’t a job but a lifestyle. That sentiment really stuck with me and I soon realized that most careers are lifestyles. They’re lifestyles because they don’t just change what you do between 9 and 5, they change the way you live. If you’re considering taking the plunge, and becoming a freelance writer for example, you’ll need to realize that you’re not changing jobs you’re adopting a lifestyle.
I’ve been a freelance writer for nearly a decade and I hope to be one for a long time to come. Why? I love the lifestyle. Yet, I wish someone would have been there to share with me what I’m about to share with you. It wouldn’t have changed my mind but it would have helped my transition from having a brick and mortar job to being a stay-at-home freelance writer. If you’re unsure about becoming a freelance writer, then the following five reasons will definitely help you make a decision.
You Don’t Go To Work, You Start Working
At a “job,” you have a boss walking around making sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. As a freelance writer working from home, all you have is yourself and maybe a harshly worded email from your client.
This leads some to conclude that in order to be a freelance writer and work from home you need to be self-motivated.
I don’t like the word “self-motivation.” It’s a big word that represents a big concept. When it comes to self-motivation, what is really being talked about, and I’ve discovered this through experience, is the act of getting started.
Once you get started you build momentum and once you have momentum it’s easier to finish. It’s also easier to tackle the problem of how to start working then it is to tackle the problem of motivating one’s self.
One takes a little bit of thought and maybe some trial and error. The other takes tons of self-reflection and expensive therapy.
Furthermore, even if your assignments are really technical, writing takes a fair amount of creativity. Somedays your creative well is dry but your deadline still looms.
That’s why you need to determine what starts your engine. If you need to spend an hour watching television, if you need to take a short nap, if you need to work out, then that’s what you do.
As a freelance writer you don’t go to work, you start working.
Your Schedule Is Flexible
At a job, you show up at a certain time and leave at a certain time. You work a set amount of days, usually Monday through Friday. When you’re a freelance writer working from home you can work whenever you want and/or whenever you can. In other words, your schedule is “flexible.”
Now, a lot of people say they want a “flexible” schedule but in reality they don’t. It took me years to accept a flexible schedule.
I’ve cursed myself for having to work a Friday night, into the wee hours of the morning, or when my significant other was home. Then it dawned on me that if I wanted a fixed schedule, I should go back to my old job.
Flexibility is one of the biggest lifestyle changes you’ll encounter as a freelance writer. Remember though, the rest of the world is still on a schedule. You have to be able to accept this fact. You have to be able to accept working on a Friday night when your significant other is starting their weekend.
Enjoy taking Tuesday afternoon off to see a movie, or mow your lawn, but don’t beat yourself up when you have to work through dinner or after everyone goes to bed.
You’ll Be Working More
Let’s face it, when we go to a job at a brick and mortar business we usually enter “run out the clock” mode. Working from home as a freelance writer, you don’t gain anything from spending 15 minutes shopping for a new barbeque grill, because you’re not leaving at such-and-such time. You’re working until the assignment is finished.
All those things you used to do to make “quitting time” come sooner now work against you. Besides, you’re not going to charge your client for breaks. That’s why being a freelance writer means a lot of actual work.
That’s right, as a freelance writer setting up shop at home, you’ll actually be working more then you did when you had a “job.” The key word in that sentence is “working.”
All the time you used to spend getting ready, commuting, going to meetings, and hanging out at the water cooler you can now spend writing.
That’s good news because the only way you can really impress your clients is through the assignments you turn in.
You’ll Need To Broaden Your Horizons
Being a freelance writer is a lifestyle because it forces you to get out of your comfort zone.
About five years into my tenure as a work-from-home freelance writer I found myself in trouble. I had unwillingly built a cocoon around myself. I was spending too much time alone. I was spending too much time with my head buried in a computer.
I had stopped broadening my horizons and it was negatively affecting my most important relationships. If you’re in a relationship it can definitely be a problem. That’s why you must find activities that get you out of your house and interacting with other people.
Volunteering is ideal because it not only gets you out of the house and interacting with other people, it also allows you to be a part of something that’s bigger than yourself. Joining a sports league or a music band is another good suggestion.
These are things everyone should probably do, but as a freelance writer working from home, these are things you must do. They are necessary for you to step out of your comfort zone; be well-rounded, and stay sane.
You Must Find Ways To Be Active
And a final reason why being a freelance writer is a lifestyle is because it really makes you move.
Chances are, if you’re considering being a work-from-home freelance writer, you’re probably closer to retirement age then you are to college age.
For one, you have a home you can actually work from and want to work from. And two, you’ve worked for “The Man” long enough to know you don’t want to work for “The Man” anymore.
If you’re far older than the average intern, it’s important that you frequently step away from your desk and get active.
This is embarrassing but I’ve really injured myself by sitting too long in front of my monitor. I have the back of a 125-year-old man, my eyes always ache, and my buttocks yell “uncle” after a few hundred words.
So make sure you take frequent breaks to walk the dog, saunter around the block, clean the house, or do something active. Even if you’re on a roll, and you’re writing a masterpiece, you’ve got to get away from the keyboard and move your muscles.
Also, don’t be afraid to grab the laptop and work in different parts of your home, in the backyard, or at a coffee shop. If you’re only going to work in one place all the time, then why not go back to the cube farm? Changing your work scenery will keep things fresh and help you stay mentally healthy just as moving around will help you stay physically healthy.
If you’re considering a career as a freelance writer, I commend you and think it can be a great choice. Just understand that you’re not only choosing a job, you’re choosing a way of life.
About the Author: Arnold Hyatt is a freelance writer from Boston, Massachusetts who writers for numerous online publications and websites including CompanyEnergy.org, (https://companyenergy.org), a business energy rates comparison website.