Spicing Up Your Freelance Career
This article belongs to The Writing Life—The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly column.
Freelancing definitely has its perks - flexible hours, the ability to work from home, the opportunity to be creative. But, like with any job, you can burn out. The constant generation of ideas and the need to pitch can get difficult and even make those with the toughest skin weary. In these moments, you may want to call it quits. However, before you do, try some of the ideas below. Taking your mind off the task at hand, while still working, can get you doing the pitching hustle again shortly.
Explore a Career Change
No, I'm not talking about going for a law degree or pursuing veterinary medicine, but a slight change of pace could help. Remain within the field but look into other writing-related jobs like freelance copy editing or writing work for one company. The stability of these gigs will take away the anxiety that comes with the uncertainty surrounding pitching and will also provide a steady paycheck. Furthermore, these jobs - although dependable - still allow you to set your own hours and work from home. Maybe you'd prefer doing this kind of work instead.
Pick a New Writing Focus
I know, know. I had spent previous articles talking about how important it is to pick a specialty when doing freelance writing. And it is. But focusing too much on nail fungus and bowel issues or whatever your area of expertise is, can get old. So, pick something new. There's nothing that says you can't be an expert in more than one field. Use this break from your old forte to gather clips in the new area of interest. Sure, you'll be pitching again, but devoting your time to another focus could be just what you need to rid yourself of those old pitching blues.
Begin Another Creative Venture
Most writers have a pile of work they plan on getting to when the time is right. Make that time now. We do freelance work because we need the cash, and the thought of writing something for free sometimes gives us the heebie-jeebies. Yet, if the cash jobs are sapping our energy and making us less productive, it's time to go into that pile of "someday" projects. Have a novel you have always been meaning to write? Personal essays or short stories with potential but needing revision? Now is your chance to give them your attention. Perhaps, working on these new projects will give you more pitching ideas. Or, you may be set on a new course—finally getting a novel, stories, or essays published. Maybe this has been your calling, but you have been pushing it aside. Stop ignoring it.
Take a Pitching Class
We can never know enough. What's more, I found that these classes motivate me to work harder than I have before. Because the classes can get expensive, you can't do this each time you're in a writing rut, but once a year can add some spice to those bland freelancing days. I don't know about you, but when I feel like I am only a pitch-generating machine, I lose site of what is wrong with a query. Sometimes, all pitches just blend together and no matter how long I stare at research, I cannot get any fresh ideas. A class can change this. There, you can get valuable feedback on how to hone those pitches so they will most likely get accepted. In addition, bouncing ideas off other writers can help you get your creativity back. Which is what got us here in the first place, isn't it? The need to trade those blahs for the oohs and ahhs. To regain our creativity and writing mojo—both of which we always want more.