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Side Projects and My Freelance Writing Career – A Plan

side projectsSide projects – some would describe freelance writing as a side project, but I’ve been writing as a mostly full time freelance writer for multiple decades and I’m far from alone.

Many of you reading this are also full time writers and those who aren’t are working to get there.

Of course, full time is in the eye of the freelancer.

What is full time work?

We tend to think a 40 hour week is normal for a full time job. (It actually became law in the US in 1869) I’m not so sure, at least for writers. I find if I’m writing well, 3-4 hours is about all I can do if I’m to write again the next day. All the other business of writing, marketing, research, talking to potential clients, etc. etc. etc. can take a lot of time or not so much, totally depending on what’s up.

Generally, in other words, a freelance writer has time for side projects.

About those side projects

Most of the side projects I’ve done are labors of love and generally unpaid. Until recently the side projects I’ve taken have been easy and short term. About five months ago I unwittingly turned my world upside down by offering to volunteer at Democracy Counts. You may have heard me mutter about this before. What I didn’t realize was how big a project it is and how interesting it would get. Of course, the major reason they wanted me is because of my writing so in a way it does fit with my business.

It’s currently unpaid and although there’s potential for a decent salary, it’s hardly guaranteed and might not last past the 2020 election. So far I’m willing to live with the uncertainty.

Here’s how I’m working on handling the temptation of putting it ahead of my regular, money generating writing and coaching.

Rule number one: Monday – Thursdays I don’t do anything for Democracy Counts until I’ve first caught up with the money making tasks. This works pretty well, except when it doesn’t, but so far so good.

Actually, at the moment I’ve only got the one rule. Maybe that’s all I’ll need.

Writing requires discipline

I know, and unless you’re brand new to writing so do you, writing requires discipline. Unless I sit at the keyboard and put words on the screen my writing and my writing business dies. I’m using the same discipline to push the side project into background on a regular basis.

If you’ve got side projects you really want to do along with your writing and writing business, if you pay close attention and are fairly strict with yourself you can do both. You get to decide. Experiment and see if you can make it work. If you can or mostly you’re all set. If you discover you can’t find a way to do both then you’ve got a decision to make.

Do you take side projects? Tell us about it in comments.

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman, freelance writer

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