People are skeptical when I tell them that not having a 9-to-5 job is more work than having a 9-to-5 job. And I completely sympathize with their skepticism. After all, I often don’t shower until afternoon, and I sometimes spend the first hour of my day in bed answering emails.
However, while I do get to make my own schedule and type away in my underwear, what is often overlooked is the fact that I am never not working. That’s right. The only clock I get to punch out of is the metaphysical one, which means when I punch out, I’m dead.
Here’s what my average day looks like:
8:00 a.m. – Wake up, answer emails
9:00 a.m. – Review my list of things to do
9:15 a.m. – Gym
10:30 a.m. – Personal blog, Essay Fiesta blog and postings on social networks
Noon – Shower
12:30 p.m. – Client work
2:30 p.m. – Lunch (which I usually work through)
3:00 p.m. – More client work
7:00 p.m. – Creative writing
8 p.m. – Dinner
8:30 p.m. – More creative writing
11:00 p.m. – Stop for the day to read or watch a movie
1:00 a.m. – Bed
Also, this isn’t 5 days a week. This is usually 7 days a week, though lately I’ve been forcing myself to take one day off from work. And even then, I still do some writing.
Being a professional creative is a ton of work. To be successful, you need a lot of talent, a lot of business savvy and a lot of drive. It’s not enough to just do the work you get, but you have to also be looking for new work at all times. Plus, you also have to take care of all the back-office stuff, like accounting and marketing. And don’t forget about the personal upkeep, like cleaning your apartment and working out.
Why do I choose to live this kind of life? Because I love it. I get a tremendous amount of pleasure from being self-employed. I see every new project as a fun challenge where I get to use my skills to fulfill someone’s vision. And I pride myself very much on the work I do, which is one reason why I’ve been successful running this business for the last three years.
If anyone out there has questions about what it’s like to be a freelance writer, feel free to write me, and I’d be happy to answer them. I like to give prospective writers a dose of truth so they know what they’re getting into. It’s not meant to scare you off. But it is meant to ensure you’re not wasting your time when you may be better off applying for a job in a communications department or at a magazine.