When you work from home, it’s hard to recognize burnout.
You get to hang out in your PJs all day!
You get to pal around with your pup all day!
You can run errands at the drop of a hat, all day!
But that’s the key word: all day.
You can work all day, including Saturdays and Sundays. It never turns off.
Self-employment is uncertain. What if you don’t get another project for a month? What if a check is late? What if an unexpected bill comes up? What if an expected bill comes up, but you forgot how big that expected bill is, like car insurance, student loans, self-employment taxes, or health insurance (heyo, turning age 26 soon!)?
So you say yes to every project. And you still feel guilty all the time.
“Hustle or die”—not exactly the most encouraging mantra.
I think everyone is burned out in the winter. It’s dark early, the weather is terrible, and you don’t see your friends as often because they’re also hiding inside. There’s no relief.
I’ve been feeling burned out lately, but I’ve noticed a few things that have put a spring back into my step (that will hopefully last ‘til Spring.)
So ladies and gents, here is my fail-proof list of burnout cures! (Okay, probably not fail-proof, but oh well.)
1. Do things you love
Whether it’s scrapbooking, blasting music in your room, painting or redecorating your basement, watching your favorite TV show, or going for a run, DO IT. Who cares how much time you’re “wasting.” If it makes you happy, do it. It will rejuvenate your soul and give you perspective.
2. Take a break from what you’re working on
Whether it’s a short story that’s just not working or a marketing project that’s just not resulting, step away from it and either work on something else, or do anything at all, per Number 1!
3. Avoid your phone for the day (or at least turn off notifications)
This may sound like a terrible idea, but at least it will make you feel better! Not everything has to be done right now. Give yourself some breathing room from social media, email, etc.
4. Find like-minded people
A lot of people are going through what you’re going through. Actually, anyone going through a Chicago winter is probably feeling what you’re feeling. Find your people, commiserate, get drinks, watch a movie, or do whatever else you fancy!
5. Listen to podcasts or join Facebook groups
Listening to podcasts about freelancing, finances, self-care, etc. makes me feel less alone and realize that we’re all kind of making it up as we go along. Some of my favorite podcasts are “Bad With Money With Gaby Dunn” and “Forever35.”
6. Remind yourself why you’ve chosen this lifestyle
One reason while I’ve chosen to be a full-time freelancer is because I love the projects I’m working on. One of them is Cinema Femme, a new Chicago-based female film magazine. It launched in October, and it’s been so exciting seeing it grow and give a voice to female filmmakers, critics, artists, and writers.
I also love the flexibility freelancing has given me to pursue my love for children’s book publishing. I’ve been part of SCBWI since 2016 and I’ve always loved writing, but this year I’ve decided to really study the craft of picture book writing, go to events, and take myself seriously.
7. Get some sleep
Sleep is important. Get some of it! It makes a world of difference!
8. Call your sister
She’ll make you feel better and listen to you vent (and will also review your blog post before you send it out into the world).
I hope this was helpful in some way. Just remember, Spring is only 35 days away! (Unless winter decides to stick around a little longer…)
When editing, I can never listen to music with lyrics because then one of the following will end up happening:
1. "Zen: Indie Folk for Focus" playlist by Spotify
2. "Songs for Editing" playlist by Stephen Thompson
3. "Deep Focus" playlist by Spotify
4. "Quiet Hours" Playlist by Spotify
5. "Eighth Grade (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)" by Anna Meredith
6. "Rainbows" by Bicycles in Amsterdam
Happy Friday, and happy 2019! I thought I'd kick off the New Year with some of my favorite articles/humor pieces about freelancing that I read in 2018 (and 2017). So here we go!
1. "I Work From Home," Daily Shouts, Colin Nissan, The New Yorker
2. "I'm Your Freelance Check and I'm Here to Change Your Life," Kimberly Harrington, McSweeney's
3. "Admin Mondays," Jessica Hische, Swiss Miss
4. "7 Steps for Taking on Freelance Projects Without Pissing Off Your Boss," Kelli Smith, The Muse
5. "10 Freelance Writer Website Examples for You to Emulate," Maggie Linders, Freelance Writing Riches
6. "The 3 C’s of a thriving creative freelance business," Justine Clay, Freelancers Union
Happy holidays! What better way to show the freelancer in your life that you care than by getting them oddly specific, practical Christmas gifts? Here are some useful and fun gifts you can get your favorite freelance writer, designer, consultant, etc., this winter season.
I remember watching “Grease” (1978) as a kid and thinking they looked SO OLD. I know that a lot of them were actually in their 20s or 30s (John Travolta was 24 when the movie came out, Olivia Newton-John was 30), but still. I’m 25 now and I still don’t look like that.
Twenty-five is a weird age. I feel like even my siblings think I should still be 18 and running cross country and picking out colleges again. But here I am, at age 25! A quarter of a century. I can rent a car if I really wanted to. Neat.
In honor of age 25, I thought I’d create a list: 25 Things That Make You Feel Like You Have Your Life Together and Are a Semi-Adult. And then another list: 25 Things That Make You Feel Like You Don’t Have Your Life Together At All.
So here we go! Here are the two lists:
When I first graduated, I pictured most ideal jobs being like this: a 9-to-5 office; my own little cubicle or desk; a hip, cool office with young, creative people; and a daily commute on the train.
I never considered working remotely, and I didn’t know what it entailed. Initially when I’d find out a job was remote, I’d feel crestfallen and imagined I’d feel isolated and lonely within weeks of starting the job. For a lot of people, their workplace is their main source of friendship and community. I mean, you spend at least 40 hours a week there, and you have something in common with these people—a love for teaching, writing, coding, singing, etc. Or maybe you all just bond over how much you hate your job. That can be equally as bonding.
It can also be hard working remotely when you’re young and just starting out your career. A lot of the pros of working from home sometimes don’t apply to you: you don’t have children or parents you’re caretaking for. In other words, you don’t have lot of responsibilities at home that would make working at home ideal.
But I’ve found that working remotely can still have a lot of pros as a 25-year-old: you save money on commuting, you can pal around with your pup and give her walks, you can sleep in, and if you’re an introvert like me, sometimes it’s easier to focus.
A lot of jobs today are remote because 1. Office space is expensive. 2. Employees/freelancers work in different cities, states, countries. 3. A bunch of other reasons I can’t remember.
SO, here is a list of tips on how to make working remotely not suck as much, whether you’re working remotely full time or just a few days a week.
Earlier this year, I thought, hey, I should probably have a logo. I asked my sister Kathleen, who's an illustrator, if she could create one for me and I'd pay her.
Reenactment of convo:
Me: "Hey, sis, could you whip something up real fast that embodies my whole essence, and vibe, and style? Cool, k thx luv ya tonz byeeee!"
Okay, that didn't happen, but Kathleen was super busy so she couldn't do it anyways. And I also feel bad for always relying on Kathleen for anything art-related.
(I'm really painting myself in a bad light here, but it's fine, srsly—Kathleen and I are buds. Right, Kathleen? Right????)
Anyways, I ended up using 99designs.
Freelancing can be lonely, tough, and uncertain, but it has brought me to some beautiful places. I sort of fell into freelancing on accident in 2015, but since then, I’ve embraced it and gone along for the ride.
(Side note: Every time I say I’m a freelancer, I always feel like I’m going to say “I’m a freemason” on accident.
DOUBLE side note: Apparently in the house I grew up in, they used to have Freemason meetings in the basement, whaaaaa? My mom told me that the other day. We were talking about how there used to be a cool bar in the basement, but we knocked it down when we remodeled the basement *tear*. I had some pretty awesome Fisher-Price-esque restaurants down there as a little tot.)
Hey, blog-o-sphere! Welcome to my blog. I always try creating these things and then end up abandoning them after a few months, so here's the hoping this one will actually stick around.
Wow, what an encouraging beginning to a first blog post! I should be a motivational speaker.
Jokes aside (that was a real knee-slapper, wasn't it), I've been thinking of creating a blog for a while, and I thought I'd kick this off with my favorite online editing tools.
When I have a big editing project with a tight deadline, I'm always looking for ways to save time, be more efficient, and automate anything that can be automated. I really should learn how to do macros, but I haven't gotten around to that, so here are my favorite tools for now.