How do you find the balance between keeping up with your own projects and maintaining your freelance business? If you know the secret to creating more hours in the day and magically enhancing your writing stamina, let me know.
It’s difficult, because, if you’re anything like me, your personal projects, your novels, your short stories, your personal blog is itching to take center stage. It’s always there, hanging out in the left brain begging to be finished or worked on.
For those who are full-time fiction writers, who spend all their time on their works and personal projects, I’m sure it comes with its own unique set of challenges. But for those of you like me, who need to attend to paying clients and balance personal projects in the mix, here are 8 little tidbits that help me keep my business and personal projects going:
Set your priorities
Take a minute and make a to-do list. I do this every morning before I get started. I write down everything I hope to work on that day. Including my blog, my freelance gigs, pitches I want to send, and my personal projects. Usually, this is the last item on the list, and I’ll get to that later.
Make time for your fiction every day
I try and set aside an hour or so every day, just for my fiction. If I want to get my novel out there, I need to finish it. I’m not going to do that waiting for the muses to strike. I have to keep the habit of working on it a little every day.
If I end up looking at a blank cursor, blinking at me with nothing coming out then I know it’s time to step away and do something else. Whether that’s working on another project or going back to an article with the deadline coming up.
Paying Gigs First
For me, paying gigs come first. Of course, I want to spend all my time on my fiction, my blog, and my graphic design projects, but the truth is, I can’t. I need to focus my time on where the money is coming from. And that means getting pitches out, getting articles submitted, sending emails, and working with editors.
Find your Maximum Word Count
I really like looking at maximum word count. Not only is it another way to manage my goals and to-do list. But it’s also helpful finding that word count because then I know what I can and can’t do. If I can get out 2,000 words most days, then I know if I have two 1,000 word articles due, it will take about 2 days to get them “submission ready”.
Work on a Calendar (if you can keep it)
Some people work really well with scheduled days. Like Monday and Tuesday are pitch and cold email days, Wednesday is when you focus on your own works, Thursday you write for your clients etc. I like the idea of having a calendar, but I personally am not great at keeping that kind of weekly routine.
Balance the Books
Get your budget figured out. It’s tedious, it’s boring, it’s the least appealing part of having a freelance business. Find your weekly or monthly amount you need or want to make. When you have a good amount of income coming in, and your budget starts balancing out, you’ll have a better idea how much time you can devote to your own projects.
These are just the tips that I have found helpful in my own journey to freelance success. What works for you?
Be sure to check out the first chapter of my new book, The Adventures of a Questkeeper. I’m still in the rewrite and edit phase but it’s been a joy to write.
“Imagine a world where questing is a lucrative business, and the true heroes are not the chosen ones but those hired to help from the sidelines.”