I've been referred to as a “machine.” But what happens to the freelancing and the home business when the machine breaks down?
I've struggled the last few months. Motivation has been a serious issue. For the most part, I've managed to get most of my freelancing work done. But the last few days have been different. Recognizing that my home business was starting to feel like a job — a job I'm trapped in — I shut down.
I slept for 12 hours straight this past weekend. In my memory, this has never happened. Even when I'm sick. Even when I had my wisdom teeth out and the drugs knocked me out. I didn't feel like doing anything. I've never just not done my work.
Obviously, the work is still there, and it needs to be done. And it will get done this week. But I'm thinking. I'm thinking about the direction I want my freelancing and my home business to take. I'm trying to decide what's next. I'm trying to make time for the projects that are most interesting to me.
Yes, I still want to write for others. I've had the chance to do a little more “real” reporting lately, and I've enjoyed returning to my journalism roots. I'd like to do a little more of that sort of thing.
Unfortunately, like many people in more traditional jobs, I'm starting to feel trapped. Overall, I like what I do. I enjoy freelancing, and I have awesome clients. That's not the issue.
The issue is how much I'm doing.
I've had some better-paying opportunities, but they aren't regular enough for me to base my family's income on. I've not wanted to turn down these other opportunities, just in case they develop into something ongoing. But it starts to add up, since I still have all the other work to do.
It's like having a more traditional job, and then picking up the slack after co-workers are laid off. I'm feeling burnout, and this past weekend it all caught up with me. Over my “career,” several people have called me a “machine,” due to the sheer amount of writing that I do. But I've reached a point where quantity is becoming a problem — and I can see the effect on the quality as well.
I'm making time for my family, but other things are falling to the side. My health has been affected. I don't have time for exercise, or for improving my life. I'm angry and negative on a level that is completely out of character for me. I haven't meditated in weeks.
But I'm not sure just where to go from here. I feel like I can't get rid of the regular gigs; I'm the primary breadwinner. It's that risk. Will my emergency fund bear the strain? What happens if some of the projects I really want to pursue flop? It's like I'm in the beginning stages of a home business again. Only this time, it matters a lot more because I'm making a lot more money.
I don't have the answers yet. Only more questions. But I need to figure something out.