I talked with a writer yesterday who was struggling try to balance her freelance writing business side with the actual writing she was doing.
“It seems I either do one or the other,” she explained. “It can take me hours to, for example, balance my checkbook or plan a marketing campaign and when I’m done I’m drained and have nothing left for the writing I’m doing for clients.”
I know the feeling and I suspect you do too. It’s not surprising. After all there are only 24 hours in a day and each of us has a fairly limited amount of creative energy. Figuring out how to balance our writing with our business as well as the rest of our lives isn’t simple.
So it becomes a matter of time management and productivity.
When are you most creative?
The first step is knowing when you’re most creative. For me, I’m at my best in the morning, after coffee and meditation. I start my day at 5 am, not because I’m virtuous, but because I love the morning light and this is what works best for me.
You may be a night owl, doing your best writing after the rest of your world has gone to sleep.
There are also people who come alive in the afternoon.
If at all possible you want to schedule your most creative time as your writing time.
Schedule your business hours
For me, my business hours are the time I schedule for things like marketing and balancing checkbooks. As a full time freelancer I use this time for shopping and other out-of-the house activities.
If you look at my calendar you’ll see that I’ve blocked off the time from 7:30-noon as writing time. I do the business stuff after lunch.
I know I start getting stupid right around 4 o’clock so I try to have everything done by then.
Putting it on a calendar helps me achieve balance
I don’t quite understand it, but when I actually schedule my writing time so I can see it blocked out it helps. The same is true for the things I need to do for my writing business. So does some sort of to do list. I’m currently using todoist. I love checking tasks off when I complete them. Yes, it seems silly, but who cares as long as it works.
Of course my days don’t always go as planned! Yours won’t either, I promise. Mostly I’ve learned to just accept when plans change – taking a couple of deep breaths seems to help.
If you’re still working a day job this becomes even more difficult, as it does when you have little kids at home or an aging parent who needs your attention.
There’s no single solution, nor are you likely to find a solution that lasts forever. Change is the operative word in our lives. It really is a matter of doing the best we can.
What are your secrets for developing balance between your writing and your freelance writing business?
In the About Writing Squared Freelance Writers Forum you can learn the insides and outsides of the freelance writing business. Take a look.
Write well and often,