A Freelance Writing Gig Binge Can Make You Sick

I have learned some tricks of the trade, and one of them is saying no. The average brand new writer often takes any work they can get, and it can sometimes be more than they can handle. As an anxious aspiring writer, I made the mistake of taking on too much work too soon. A writing career is definitely something that you will want to ease into (of course I know that now!). Taking on more projects than you can handle is a big no, no. How do you know when the work is too much? Here are some symptoms to watch out for:

-Feeling stressed and/or pressured. If your work load is too heavy, you will feel like you can’t rest until everything is done. Results are a lack of sleep, possible weight gain, caffeine (or red bull) overdose, and no time for fun.

-Reducing the quality of your writing just to get the work done. Also described as throwing up your writing. Spewing out assignments and turning them in as is really stinks to your clients. It can get messy, please avoid.

-Missing deadlines. There is no excuse for this (more on that later). If there is so much on your plate that even though you are working your hardest you can’t make deadlines, it is time to cut down on the binge. Results in angry clients, lack of pay, tears, and loss of confidence. Extensions are limited, do not exceed more than one per project.

On a more serious note, I ended up losing clients because my work wasn’t the highest quality, or because I quit knowing that I couldn’t meet the deadline. I had underestimated how long it would take to complete each assignment, and totally overbooked myself. The best thing to do is give time frames that are an extra day or two more than you think it will take. Set spacious but reasonable deadlines that will help you accommodate other projects at the same time.

Most importantly, learn when to say no. I have turned down many project invitations simply because I had more than enough work to keep me busy full-time. If I am offered an opportunity and I am really busy, I will figure out if I can afford to squeeze it in between some other things. I won’t go out of my way, and I always make sure I schedule “me time” (something fun other than writing). If the work is too hefty I will simply turn it down politely. Sometimes I can fit and extra project in, but that ability came with learning (the hard way) how much I can handle.

When it comes to freelance work, don’t binge. Carefully evaluate the opportunities presented to you and choose carefully. Don’t worry about missing a particular chance to earn money, because there will be plenty more where that came from.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I overschedule, but I get it all done by simply not sleeping. Think of all the time we waste by sleeping each day when we could be writing instead. It’s really amazing when you think about it. Writing is so much more productive than sleeping, and it keeps the flying chickens away.


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