Most of us would agree that freelance writing is like journalism…but with a different twist. It’s demanding yet flexible, and comes with considerable freedom, such as the ability to work from home, and the ability to work on projects you like.
However, as freelancers, there are a few challenges associated with our profession, the most common being pitching, the quest to land more clients, consistent work, and, of course, meeting those deadlines. If you’re an established freelance writer with a strong pool of clients and good pay, you’ll enjoy the luxury of working flexible hours. However, the long hours spent indoors, behind the screen, will mean little to no social life, and a potential impact on your health.
Freelance writing can be lonely and tiresome and, if not managed well, can lead to weight gain, lethargy, and even chronic back pain. From experience, I’ve suffered all these and I can tell you it negatively impacted my productivity, income, health, finances, and overall health.
When starting as a freelance writer 3 years ago, I spent 12 hours behind my desk, 6 days a week. I stopped going out, didn’t engage in much physical activity, and lost touch with several people. The result was obvious: I added more weight, became lethargic and lazy, and had a lot of writer’s block. And, I was lonely and miserable. Considering I also have a chronic back problem, you can imagine how messed up my health was.
I know many writers are victims of this scenario, and can relate. So, how do you lead a healthy and productive lifestyle as a freelance writer?
The Successful Freelance Writer Is Fit
It won’t be long before you notice the effects of sitting for long hours without much physical activity. In my case, I became 50 pounds heavier. It took the intervention of my fitness trainer, lots of workouts, and better eating habits to get back in shape. Again, that put a dent in my pockets, which is something I could have avoided.
To be a successful freelance writer, you must watch your weight and overall health. Avoid too much carbs, sugar, and calories, which doesn’t help when you lead a sedentary lifestyle. Try sticking to lots of proteins, vitamins, and water. Most importantly, take short breaks between work, and short walks around the house. It’s also a great idea to sign up for a fitness class, and endeavor to train a few days a week.
The Successful Freelance Writer Lives Their Best Lives
Did you know that, while you’re busy researching and churning out tons of content for your clients, they’re spending time with their loved ones, going on vacation, growing their businesses, and just living their best lives? You deserve to live your life to the fullest as well. Endeavor to get better-paying gigs with flexible hours so you can earn more without breaking your back day in day out. Set aside time for family, friends, and yourself, too.
Don’t only leave the house on Sundays for grocery shopping and a stop by the mall. Don’t be so busy that you can’t attend your friend’s baby shower, go out with the boys, or stroll around the beach. You need people around you. I hadn’t known nature walks could be so therapeutic and beneficial to my creativity as a writer until I turned it into a pastime, taking quiet walks around the neighborhood every evening.
The Successful Freelance Writer Has Another Source of Income
I learned this the hard way. Previously, I relied solely on freelance writing, and it was quite a rat race. Sometimes, jobs were hard to come by, and I went through the feast and famine cycle for several months.
Eventually, I started a side hustle selling clothes, thanks to my background and passion for fashion. I started an online thrift shop selling unique vintage clothing, which supplemented my income. For a time, I was in bad health and could not work. It was the side hustle that paid my bills. Otherwise, I could have been a charity case.
Most importantly, find a balance between work and life, and cultivate your relationships with your family and other loved ones.
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Teri O’halo McMahonn is a freelance lifestyle writer who’s been featured in a few publications such as YourTango. A great cook and homemaker, she writes about everything lifestyle: home, food, relationships, travel, kids, and parenting. Teri is also into human interest stories and writes passionate tributes and obituaries on her blog: https://www.teriohalo.com.
When not writing for clients, she shares her passion for cooking with organic herbs and spices on her blog: https://www.organichealthbloom.com.
You can also connect with Teri through LinkedIn.