Today marks a year since I left my job and started working full time as a freelance writer. That’s come around pretty quickly, and I can’t say that I’ve made as much progress as I would have liked. That said, I’m far happier and healthier than I was doing the office nine to five, and as the main aim was to improve my mental health I’d say that this was a win.
During that year I’ve done some pretty awesome stuff. I’ve written for a bunch of blogs and websites. I’ve contributed content for a mobile phone game. I’ve had my best short story sale yet and been a runner up in a talent hunt by a major comics company.
So, what big things have I learned in a year of writing?
Discipline vs balance
When you’re working for yourself discipline is really important. Making sure that you knuckle down to work even when you don’t feel like it. Not getting sucked into long lunchtimes of sitcom repeats or Assassins Creed.
That said, striking a balance is also important. Sitting at the keyboard all day in the name of discipline will drive you nuts. It’s not productive. Recognising when you need to do something else, balancing physical and mental activity, giving your brain time to rest, it’s all part of the real discipline. The interruptions you get in other jobs provide some of that, so creating the right level of interruption for yourself is important.
I’m still working on getting the balance right and achieving more discipline. Here’s hoping for a more productive second year.
I’ve done some seriously tedious and frustrating work as a freelancer, just to get myself established. But I don’t do that work as well or as quickly. Sometimes a worse paid job that interests me more will work out better financially, because I’ll get it done far sooner and with less time wasted on delays. Also it makes me far happier.
Staying on target
Sometimes I get sidetracked. We all do. Remembering my medium and long term goals is vital to regaining my focus. I hate to say it, but all those years of office work and management training are actually paying off.
It hasn’t been a perfect year, but it has been a good one. Now it’s time to celebrate – I think I’ll go do some writing.