Regular employees may be bound to their desks from 9 to 5, with regulated breaks in between, but they do enjoy perks that freelance writers may not. We don’t have company subsidized health insurance, for example. We don’t have overtime pay. We don’t have paid vacation and sick days off. All of these things are left for us to deal with. Or we can decide to do without them.
Let’s zero in on the last bit – days off. If you think about it, we do have a certain degree of freedom as compared to regular employees. We can choose not to work if we are sick or feel like going on a vacation. One huge difference is that, technically, we don’t get paid for those days. We only get paid once we get the work done, which usually means spending more time working to make up for the “lost” days. As a result, many freelance writers find themselves taking less time off.
When was the last time you went on a vacation without being forced to do so? When was the last time you went on a trip without your laptop so that you can work?
If you can’t give an answer within a few seconds, then you might need to think about taking some time off in the near future. Here are some compelling reasons to support that statement.
Reasons freelance writers need to take time off
Burnout is an occupational hazard, not only for freelance writers but for practically anyone who has a job. Working long hours, doing the same thing over and over again, not setting boundaries between professional and personal life – all these things contribute to burnout.
For freelance writers, however, the advantage of determining our own work hours can also be a disadvantage. With this kind of power, we might find ourselves pushing our limits and even going beyond them.
There’s always work to be done, and there’s always the option to work through the night. Doing this occasionally to meet deadlines is understandable, even necessary. But if this becomes the norm, burnout is inevitable and it may be a difficult undertaking to get out of it.
Freelance writers need to take time off to avoid burnout.
Burnout is a commonly known issue for freelance writers, but before we hit that wall, we might engage ourselves in unhealthy behavior, whether consciously or unconsciously. Aside from not getting enough rest, other unhealthy behavior includes not eating properly, not getting enough exercise, or worse, even substance abuse.
The last behavior is obviously extreme but is not unheard of. Famous writers have been known to be alcoholics after all.
This is one of the most famous writing quotes, and it is quite funny, too. But as they say, it’s all fun and games till someone gets hurt (for real).
While those writers were extremely talented – and you may be, too – the last thing you want is to get into a bad habit and find yourself needing addiction treatment to get back on your feet.
I’m not being an alarmist here. The danger is all too real.
Avoid falling into this trap by taking regular time off with a mindset of fully leaving work behind.
Continue on your path to success
Whether you’re only just launching your freelance writing career or you’ve been at it for years, you have goals and dreams of being successful. Whatever your definition of success may be, you cannot reach that if you burn out or get tangled up in unhealthy behavior.
You may be thinking that you’re hellbent on being a successful freelance writer and you need to push yourself as hard as you can, but do think about the two points above. Pushing yourself to be better is one thing. Pushing too hard without thinking of the possible negative consequences is another thing.
Do yourself a favor. Set aside time to get away from work.