A Freelancer’s Dilemma: To Write for Money or Pleasure

Forrest ReadingAs you have no doubt noticed, I have been quite remiss in carrying for my websites as of late. It is not for lack of desire, but more for lack of time. This could be a good thing for a freelancer, if it is due to making money. In my case, it would be considered a good thing, for I have been very busy making money doing what I love to do…write and edit.

Never the less, I also have a responsibility to provide new and fresh content for my personal websites…don’t I? Now we come to the dilemma…to write for pleasure or for money…that is the question. We writers love what we do, well, that would go without saying or why would we do it? Of course, for me, I love to edit as well, primarily because I love to read. It is just so exciting to be part of a great writing project, to be able to assist a writer in achieving their desired goal.

There is also that little issue of…eating…I like to eat…I like to eat and drink…I also like to sleep indoors when at all possible. As such, I must also make a living. The more successful a freelancer becomes, the more difficult the balancing act becomes. This is where I find myself these days. I have to learn to balance a successful freelancing career with my own desires to write and to impart knowledge and experiences on my own websites.

I love my blogs, my children’s books, and my novels…all of which are waiting patiently for me to return. So, I have been doing a little investigating of my own…prior to jumping off in forming my own publishing company (yes, can we say “too many irons in the fire?”). What I found was quite disturbing…there is no real information out there about balancing freelancing with a desire to write and publish your own work. I have to wonder if all freelance writers have given up on their hopes and dreams of becoming a published author (of more than articles).

So, beginning this week I will begin investigating different methods of time management. I thought I would start by setting aside one day a week that is dedicated to working on my own personal projects…those that I am not paid to write or edit. Since I start my day early and tend to work into the evening, usually working a minimum of 10 hours a day, and usually working more like 12-15 hours a day. I will give myself at the minimum, a half of a day as a relaxing period…but my goal is to have an entire day (that has yet to work out for me, but it is something worth setting a goal for).

I have a wonderful client base that provides me plenty of work. They are also really great clients that require very little upkeep and maintenance. I love working with them, which makes the hours go by very quickly…another reason I have been ignoring my own personal work…they make it so easy. On occasion, I pick up a little extra work, if the project sounds interesting. I have had very few problems out of those clients. Although, I have run across that “time-sucker” once or twice when taking on extra work, I have learned from experience how to recognize them early on and run like the wind.

All in all, I am enjoying the success and comfort that comes along with having a steady group of clients who are consistent in their needs and desires. I suppose I should have been prepared for the other side of that success. I apologize for not taking the time to update my sites and keep you all abreast of the variety of information I come across each week.

Perhaps, we would all be better served if I take a slight step back, posting only once or twice a month, rather than what I had attempted in the early beginnings of my career…once a week.

I will keep you all informed of my progress in this new attempt to balance my freelancing with the pleasure of working on my projects. If any of you have advice…please, please, please share it with us all.

Remember…eat, drink, laugh, read, and most of all…write!

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8 thoughts on “A Freelancer’s Dilemma: To Write for Money or Pleasure

  1. Love this! It’s nice to know that someone else is struggling with time management while becoming a freelancer. Can you always tell what kind of client someone will be? How do you pick out the ‘time-suckers’ so early?

    • I have learned from experience that there is generally a “breaking-point” in the amount of information that a potential client sends regarding their needs. Believe it or not, some clients who send very little information are just unaware what to send. If they respond well to the list that you send them to garner the information you need to complete the task, then you are all good. If it takes more than two tries to get it, then you are usually going to struggle. Then there is the opposite, the one that sends every single last detail that may not even apply to the job. That provides an insight into a potential client that really doesn’t know what they want, and they are just fishing.What usually happens with this type of client is a large amount of “do-overs,” which I generally avoid. Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way, but it the general rule of thumb.

      The process is similar to gathering the information you need to write a resume for a client. There is the obvious, they need a resume, the rest is conjecture unless you provide the individual with some means of outlining what they want to do, what they have been doing, and what they are willing to do to get there…pretty much the same process.

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  5. Good thoughts, BK. It’s a dilemma a lot of us at NAIWE are working through. I’ve been juggling a lot of the same balls for a number of years, and have come up with a couple of things that help: the Create, Communicate, and Administrate divisions in my daily/weekly time management scheme, and prioritizing based on what will matter in both the long term and short term ROI. I have a post here that might be useful: http://doingwhatmatters.com/2012/02/how-get-all-done-oneperson-business/

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