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How do You Have Fun With Freelancing?

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on September 12, 2012 in Freelance Writing Business
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If I'm going to be completely honest, I have to say that freelancing hasn't been much fun for me over the past few months. There were some external reasons for that. But it also had to do with my work.

I felt like I was stuck in a rut -- the same kinds of projects all the time, and largely for the same clients. When it came to my own sites, they overwhelmingly felt like "work" rather than places I enjoyed spending time. That's how I used to feel about them. And I want that back.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've made some progress. With new site development, I'm focused on sites that are tied to hobbies and my fiction writing (like the three recently-launched sites I mentioned in a previous post on pen names). I'm toying with the idea of reviving the old Freelance Theater audio play series here, or launching other solo audio projects for this or other sites. And I've been cutting back a bit on client work to leave more time for my own projects. I may even opt to leave one of my oldest clients in coming weeks due to some strategic changes I'm not 100% comfortable getting behind professionally.

In other words, I'm slowly trying to bring the fun back to my work, both in freelancing (through new opportunities) and in publishing. It's a slow start, but I have confidence it'll pay off.

I'd love to know how you keep freelancing fun (or if it's not fun for you, why is that?). Is it about the kind of people you work with? The niches you write about? Your process or writing environment? Or something else? Share your ideas for making work more enjoyable in the comments below.

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


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6 Comments

  1. Cathy Miller September 12, 2012 Reply

    There’s a lot of this going around. I weeded out projects I don’t like to do, but even those projects I normally love, have taken on more of the “work” persona.

    You know what I think it is? For me anyway – I;m not doing what I want to do. Or moving toward it. I wanted the freelancing to be a means to an end.

    I found the balance between my personal life and work. Now, I need to find the balance between my freelance work (that I still love) and my personal projects for writing books and blogging on personal interests.

  2. Kimberly September 13, 2012 Reply

    Jenn, I think this is a part of freelancing no one talks about; but it’s reality. Sometimes you’re all fired up about a new client, reaching out to a new market or pursuing personal writing projects. However, there are also times when you’re uninspired and completely unmotivated. Of course being self-employed means there’s no internal bureaucracy or annoying boss to blame. If you want to keep freelancing (and keep paying the bills) you have to figure out how to reignite the spark and get excited about it again.

    Like Cathy said, sometimes it comes down to letting go of projects you don’t like. Last year I was getting a lot of business working within a particular specialty, but over time I’d REALLY grown to dislike it. I couldn’t reconcile stopping initially because it was so profitable; but I was feeling overwhelmed and resentful. Freelancing was not that enjoyable. Eventually I made a similar decision to Cathy’s and chose to no longer take on those writing projects. Sometime a change in direction is enough to get you going again; sometimes it takes something else.

    For the most part I think it’s normal for enthusiasm to wax and wane from time to time. It’s a good time to re-evaluate your business and brainstorm new ideas and solutions to pull out of the funk.

  3. Amandah September 13, 2012 Reply

    Jenn,

    I understand. I’ve been stressed out because of external forces: my family.

    Somehow, I’ve developed the habit of taking on other peoples’ emotions (I’m highly empathetic) and have become somewhat of a “Little Miss Fix It.” This isn’t good for my overall well being. Plus, it doesn’t help people take responsibility for their own lives or learn from the choices they’ve made.

    Don’t get me wrong, my family provides me with wonderful article ideas on parenting, marriage, divorce, pets, career, and other ideas. However, being surrounded by them 24/7 hasn’t been good for my health or writing. In order to move me forward, I started journaling again. Writing about my day or whatever thoughts I have has helped to move the negative and icky energy that’s been surrounding me lately. Talk about a heavy cloud. :)

    As I mentioned above, I have many writing ideas. For me, it becomes a matter of choosing one or two and sticking with them. I already finished a children’s picture book and have started working on a middle grade project, again. Perhaps, a weekend getaway would help me to rejuvenate me. I’d also love to get a massage. Ahhh… I can feel the relaxation.

  4. Chanoa September 17, 2012 Reply

    I enjoy it. I haven’t gotten into any ruts yet, thankfully. I think that is because this is what I want to do – it’s my dream job. I also really appreciate that I can work from home. Maybe you can look at the same types of projects that you always receive through different eyes. Sometimes we can have a new outlook on something old if we change our mindsets. If publishing is really your dream then that can be the issue. Pump your energy 65% into what you really want to do!

  5. Lori September 18, 2012 Reply

    Really good question, Jenn. I hadn’t thought about it being fun. For the most part, it is. Still, it’s all about them (the clients) most of the time. I get to be creative, but with a leash, so to speak. ;)

    I’m taking a poetry course right now. The goal is to kick my poetic nature into gear a bit more. I want to get a poetry collection published, and I’m well on the way, but who couldn’t use more inspiration?

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