When you’re running a freelance writing business, it can be easy to slip into the “I should be working” mode around the clock. But this isn’t sustainable. You need some basic self-care to keep from burning out.
Importance of self-care
We’re writers, and writers create. But creation depletes us.
It consumes our mental, emotional, and sometimes even physical resources. It’s incredibly difficult to do MORE of the creative work of writing when you’re depleted.
That’s why it’s so important to give yourself downtime as self-care.
When you give yourself space to decompress, recharge, and do other things that aren’t related to working/business/writing, you can replenish your resources.
Striking a balance in this work/replenish scenario would be ideal, but the truth is that your needs and your business’s needs or needs in your surroundings are always shifting.
So, it’s really hard to keep your balance when everything is moving. If you’ve ever tried to stand on one leg on a boat, you know what I mean.
Instead of finding a balance, bring awareness to what you’re doing, how you plan your days, how you spend your time, and what thoughts you allow in your head when you’re not working that have to do with work.
If you feel guilty for not working, listen to that and see where that’s coming from.
Then think about how you can set things up in such a way that it’s okay when you’re not working.
Totally flaking on a deadline? No, that’s not okay. But taking a break and building in downtime is not only okay, it’s necessary.
Spontaneous self-care can be hard to come by, so planning time for yourself is almost always a good idea.
You can set aside a specific time of day in which no work is allowed – I do this. No work permitted unless it’s work that I feel like doing (such as brainstorming something). Also, it can’t be deadline-driven, which is the opposite of restorative, and it has to be the kind of thing that doesn’t deplete me.
Maybe you want to make sure you don’t fall into the work zone by doing a hobby of some sort. You can schedule that.
You don’t even have to leave your house. You can find a lot of Meetups on Zoom. The benefits of these are no travel time and less pressure for arranging childcare (depending on your children!). But it’s still scheduled non-work time that you should enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it.
One ideal scenario that I set up for myself is to spend time every single day lying on my back in a dark room, staring at the ceiling. There are so many people and so many things in my life clamoring for my attention and pulling on my awareness that I need silence. It really helps me feel more calm and more capable of handling my life.
Instead of staring at the ceiling, maybe you’d prefer to meditate, take a nature walk, or get lost in something where you don’t think about work. Knitting or baking (especially kneading dough) are two examples.
3 self-care ideas
Here are 3 more ways to fill back up:
- Do something to take care of future-you. (Mine is making snacks for the kids the night before, instead of frantically doing it in the morning. So glamorous, I know, but it improves my life!)
- Read (or listen) for pleasure. Romance, mystery, sci-fi, the classics, whatever.
- Allow time to be quiet. Just breathe.
Do one little thing to take care of yourself and to reconnect with the real you every single day. It will help you in your business and your life.
For more ideas, see my post 10 Practical Ways to Self-Care For Work-At-Home Warriors.
If you need help getting great writing samples for your portfolio, I have a course called Clips Camp.
It’s a three-week course for new and advanced-new freelance writers who want to get started with high-paying client work. If you’re on Upwork or Fiverr and miserable, if you haven’t even done anything to get started and you don’t know what the first step is, then Clips Camp is for you.
I teach you how to put together a solid portfolio of writing samples that position you as the kind of awesome writer that awesome clients want to hire. If you want in on that, or just want more information, go to clipscamp.com.