by James Chartrand
When you first realize that you’re going to do something you’ve always dreamed about, it’s exciting. The feelings that swirl around and the obvious potential fills your mind. You’re doing it. You’re going to be a freelance writer. You’re on your way – finally!
After a few weeks, or months, or maybe even a year or two, you might realize that you’re feeling blasé. Okay, yes, you love your job, and being a writer is great, but the shine has gone out of it.
It’s a job, more or less.
Then what? Well, then you have choices to make. You can find another bright new shiny to chase, or you can sit down and have a good think.
Here are five questions to ask yourself when you realize that freelance writing is nothing more than just a job like any other:
- Have you gotten off track? Sometimes, we take on work that we really didn’t enjoy doing, but the lure of money or fame or an opportunity sometimes takes us away from our vision. Take a look at what you like and don’t like work on, and cut the yucky stuff out.
- Have you realized it isn’t all fun? Some aspects of freelance writing aren’t as enjoyable as others are. This is a time to contemplate what your expectations were and come to terms that life isn’t always a fantasy dream. Then find someone who does enjoy the tasks you don’t like, and outsource or partner up.
- Are there obstacles? Every job presents challenges that might be holding you back from fully enjoying your work. Figure out what you need to do to overcome the barriers, like taking a course or getting help with frustrating problems.
- Do you have support? A common complaint freelance writers have is the lack of support shown by friends and family. Distractions and interruptions happen frequently. Then there’s the “real” job issue that comes into play. Have a talk with those you care about and ask for more understanding, or find support from other writers on forums or blogs.
- Is this really what you want? Some people search desperately for a career that fulfills them 100%. That’s a great goal – and freelance writing may not be what truly makes you feel complete. Examine what aspects of the job do strike a chord and see if there isn’t a similar career that wouldn’t suit your personality better.
There are plenty of other questions that you can ask yourself when you feel the tarnish clouding the sparkle. Listen to your heart and don’t be afraid to examine your spirit from time to time. You just may find that a little thought opens up a world of hope to rekindle that spark.
Are you secretly lurking inside my head? This was exactly the post that I needed to read right now. Thank you so much for your hard work on every aspect of this site. You not only provide a valuable service, you do it cheerfully and with great integrity. Keep up the fantastic work!
@ Rachel: Yes, I am…bwwahh, ha, ha….
I can’t take credit for this post, though. It was written by one of our FWJ Idol candidates, Winky.
I will thank you for the kind words. You’ve made my day! 🙂
This is really a great post.
Ah yes – when it hits me that it’s a real job and not just something I love doing. Always a tricky one.
Great post! I don’t know how I”m going to choose between the three of you this week.
@ Rachel – You’re welcome. I find so many people struggling with this one, and all it takes is a little bit of thought to figure it all out. Good luck!
@ Jodee – You’re welcome too, heh.
@ Megatron – Aren’t you supposed to be heckling? I thought I saw that deal go by somewhere… (thank you!)
@ Fiona – The good part is, a down is always followed by an up 🙂
This is an amazing post and exactly right up my alley today. I have to make a decision about a job tomorrow (journalism-related) and I’m not sure if I really love writing enough to commit to a job….
Thanks for the post.
Camille Platt says
i needed that too! today i turned down a 2nd interview for a “real job” because I was so scared of losing the flexibility of my freelance schedule. i had a huge panic attack trying to decide what i really wanted. ultimately i decided if i could beat the lonely factor, freelance would reach that 100% mark. so i’m going to try and find some office space to share with other people.
This is a great post that freelancers can get back to again and again everytime they feel like they made the wrong decision.
Thanks for writing it!
Winky, shoot, I forgot about that. What I meant to say was… this post stinks like a sky-high pile of lutefisk!
Jenny B says
@Winky, you are so right about this. At some time or other we all seem to face the writing “blahs” and it could very well be an assignment that we accepted and were origninally excited about doing. You pose some very helpful questions.
All the best to you in the competition and in your writing career.