Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Change is the Only Constant in the Universe



I've been thinking a lot lately about my current struggles at this juncture in my freelance career. For me, I think the areas that I need to focus on are keeping balanced, staying disciplined, and being proud of the work I do every day. For those of you who may be confused about what I do; I run this blog, I freelance write, and I am in the process of writing a novel. Between those three things, I have more than a full time job working for myself. For all the time I spend on other tasks, such as marketing, blog posts, and programming - I spend three times as much on the writing. A large part of my day is writing. I daydream stories and as those stories come to life in my head, I have to get them down on paper or I am likely to forget the direction the story was taking. It can be stressful and frustrating. Books are not written in days. Writing anything is a process; a very long process, filled with moments of wanting to rip your hair out because you can't get your ideas to come out right. I have to write as fast as I think or I risk losing my place in a story. Don't get me wrong, working for myself is absolutely wonderful... it really is, that's not a lie, although the pay fluctuates because I don't have a set pay rate, and honestly, that comes with the territory of building your own business, especially when it's freelance work that you are doing. For me, it helps that I can see great statistical improvements each week, and my passive income streams are generating income, but even that is hard work. Those passive income streams require as much attention as writing does and I don't always have the time to do all the things I need to do, and with the weather acting crazy, I'm not even getting outside to take a fashion image which kind of defeats the purpose of a fashion blog. And if I was totally honest, I'm not as much into the fashion aspects of blogging as I am the writing, and I think that was the mistake I made with this blog in the first place. Fashion has its place, but Google indexes based on words not pictures. Still, I like the idea that having an image of myself attached to my words somehow gives those words more of a voice.

I also struggle beyond the building phase with a couple of things I feel relates to all this. One, I still get this feeling that people in my life think that I don't do anything because they themselves don't understand how freelance work works. Or because they think novel writing or short story writing is a pipe dream because they don't know where they would submit their work to get it published in the first place. If you are a writer, like me, you probably have accounts set up in various different writing communities and have access to multiple job boards, but the average person doesn't see that. I sometimes get the impression that everyone believes that I have all the free time in the world; that I can't be employed unless I am making a professional salary by leaving the house and going to a "real" job, and that what I am doing on-line doesn't count as work. I get the impression that maybe they think of writing and blogging as a fun hobby that I just happen to make some money off of. This really gets to me, and of course I don't know what they are actually feeling, and maybe I'm projecting those feelings onto people and they're not really feeling them at all, though I do still worry that they are. I think doing what you love and what brings you joy is always, always more important, and will always, always pay off in the end. It's worth sacrificing for, even if you struggle in the beginning, because realistically, your work gains value and so do you as you build your portfolio.

I work all day long and on weekends, too, but I think what I'm struggling with most right now is feeling proud of how my time is spent. I am constantly having to shift when I do certain tasks. Sometimes I feel pressured to do more than what I am doing when I know what actually needs to get done. I am someone who thrives off of accountability, and I am accountable to my sponsors, to those people I write for, and to myself. Even after breaking myself free of corporate chains and starting on this path to owning my own business, I still find it difficult to take myself seriously in this role as my own boss. I lack certain discipline, and even though I work all the damn time, I recognize that my actual productivity could be better. My boss - she's a pretty easygoing task-master. She doesn't crack the whip. I'm not scared of her. If I get really stressed out, she says to me, "Amy, I think the answer to your problem is an episode of Friends that turns into three and a couple of cookies and maybe some ice cream." Before I know it, there's two hours of my day gone. If you know what I mean.
 
So there are my current struggles. What I struggle with right now is being proud of what I am doing during these early writing stages before everything I have done grows legs and really takes off running and becomes legitimate in the eyes of others, not that it matters what others think. I struggle with sticking to the rules that I make for myself, and I struggle with managing my time in the most wise, productive, and profitable ways. I'm sure that working from home, being an entrepreneur, writing for a living, and making a good income while doing it seems glamorous or awesome or whatever to some, but it takes a certain amount of commitment to succeed at it. You don't just get rich the moment you decide to be a writer, or a blogger, or anything else for that matter. If you aren't willing to put in the work, you will never succeed in any type of freelance position. Writing doesn't write itself, it has to be written, and I need to make sure I stay committed to it.

What about you? What are you struggling with right now? Lay it on me!