As a freelance writer, a flexible schedule can help you enjoy your life as well as make money.
A freelance writer has to manage making money versus enjoying life. This can be especially true if you line up a number of regular gigs. Regular gigs are nice because you can usually count on the money to come each month. I'm willing to adjust my rate in the name of regular work with regular pay.
However, these regular gigs can start to confine you. In some cases, your regular freelance gigs can start to feel like a “real” job — and isn't the point of being a freelance writer to avoid the issues that come with having a traditional job?
You can get around that, at least a little bit, if you have room to create a flexible schedule.
Create Flexibility with Regular Freelance Gigs
When you find yourself hemmed in by deadlines, it's time to re-examine your schedule. As a freelance writer, there are times that you will have to meet particular deadlines, and sometimes it seems as though, rather than being self-employed, everyone else is your boss. This can feel especially true when you have a lot of regular gigs.
In many cases, you trade flexibility for security.
The good news is that you can create flexibility, even when you have regular gigs. It's about considering your options, and setting things up so that you are able to have a little more flexibility and maintain the security that comes with regular gigs.
Here are two strategies I employ to increase the flexibility of my schedule:
- Work ahead: This is the “obvious” way to add flexibility to your schedule. If you are asked to turn in a blog post once a week, sit down when you have time and write two or three posts for the client. You'll be ahead in the work, and that means a little more flexibility. You won't be rushing to get something in each Tuesday; you can write the post on Wednesday or Thursday if that works out better for you. My work for many regular clients is turned in a week or two before it's needed, which gives me flexibility to work on whatever day is best for me, rather than being tied to a specific weekly schedule.
- Agree to a certain number of posts per month: Another tactic I use is to agree to a certain number of posts per month. This allows me to bunch posts for clients together, and turn them in when it's convenient for me. Or, I can do two or three at once, and finish the other two or three at another point in the month. The pitfall with this strategy is procrastination. When you bunch posts like this, it's easy to put it off until later. When you have freelance clients, though, you need to make sure that you work in a way that allows them to use your work smoothly. Make sure that you don't procrastinate when you use this strategy.
Flexibility is the reason that many of us choose to pursue the path of a freelance writer. Don't let deadlines bog you down and produce the burnout that turns your dream job into a “regular” job nightmare.