Don’t Lose Yourself

I’m in the middle of an ongoing project. It’s a writer pool, so I can’t complain because I accepted the orders I have. I took them without counting, apparently, and without reading the instructions. Of course, the instructions state that I should be fairly literate in an area of technology in which I have a limited knowledge bank, but not as much as I need. But that’s alright. We writers are proficient at researching topics and writing about them as though we were experts. Isn’t that our job, after all? 

But as I’m writing this set of articles, which follows too closely on the heels of several other sets I over-committed on, I realize something. Writing for clients, for projects, for other people is a joy, and it’s a great way to earn an income, for sure. But when most of us went into writing, we went into it because we love to write about something. 

I can assure you I don’t care about most of the things I write about. Correction: I care insofar as it allows me to complete the assignment and get paid. But I’m finding that more and more of my time is spent writing about things that are slightly draining. How many articles can one write about pairing fuzzy sweaters with boyfriend jeans and heels before you start to imagine swan dives off of steep cliffs? (Exactly 32 as it turns out). 

In life, no matter what you do, you’ll have to do something you don’t really like. I hardly care what I write about, save for a few issues that are in direct opposition to my personal sense of morality, because I get to write and be at home and make money. 

But that novel I’m writing is off to the side. Those articles I’m interested in that I plan to publish on the Kindle are a side project, too. Most of the articles I want to write for Constant Content have been put under a pile of outlines for the articles in the writer pool that I’m currently working on (and late on, as it turns out, a rarity for me). The e-book I’ve been slowly working away at is a partially completed document on Scriverner. 

You see, I have completely done away with almost everything that I want to write about. Even the things that would and could make me money. Because I’m taking immediate money over possible money, guarantees over chances, I’ve relegated myself temporarily to a position that, aside from the comforts of home, feels very similar to corporate America. I’m working insane hours, slightly stressed out, doing work I don’t particularly like, and I have to answer to people who are, for all intents and purposes, above me. 

While I’m not advocating that you never do work you don’t love, or that you never work for a client, or that money shouldn’t be a priority, I am advocating making time for yourself. You see, as it turns out, we make time for what we want to make time for. I set off as a freelance writer because I wanted to schedule my own life, do my own thing, and largely be left alone. But then I keep putting myself in a situation where I’m stressed out and overworked – completely of my own doing! 

So, if you find yourself in a similar position (or if you haven’t got there yet) I would encourage you to take time for you. I claimed significantly less articles from the writer pool for Tuesday, none for Monday, and I intend to spend the majority of next week working on articles and writing that I really want to write. If you started freelancing for you, then keep yourself in it. 

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve found that I have lost myself a bit in my work. I think partially it was intentional, but I also think partially it was simply habit. It’s as though I’ve no idea what to do if I’m not piled with work and stressed out. 

I’m not sure why it is we always seem to slip into the same habits, but it’s important to write what you love, what you know, and what you’d love to know about. If you’re not writing in one of these three areas, I’ve found it’s often a miserable experience, even if money is to be made. 

Suffer for a dime if you must, but once you’re set, go back to what you love. Because the rest is just extra. 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Very true – to be lost under a sea of work for ‘what you love’ and then drown under it…. thank you for the timely advice. It’s never too late to get that bit if understanding. Thank you Susan x

    1. courtneyherz says:

      Thanks for your comment! I’m glad you found it helpful!

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