Let’s face it, being a freelance writer has some serious perks.
We can work where we want, when we want and with whom we want, and we don’t have anyone micromanaging us or telling us what to do. It’s basically a dream job, right?
In the grand scheme of things, most of us would say, “yes.”
But similar to any job, you will experience burnout when you’re just not feeling it – days when you’re overwhelmed, you’re overworked or you’re just plain bored.
This is called BURNOUT, and for us freelance writers, it’s not an uncommon occurrence.
Freelancers are part of a select group of people I like to call “go-getters.” They have the drive and determination to go out there, find great clients and projects, and keep their income streams regular and flowing.
As freelancers, it’s exciting to get new work and think about the prospect of earning more money. In our day jobs, our income was static, but as a freelancer, there is no limit on what we can earn! This is exciting, but it can also be exhausting! Because of our driven nature, sometimes we don’t know when to stop.
We take on too many projects at once, we agree to impossible deadlines and we stretch ourselves too thin. We overdo it and find ourselves deep in an overwhelming hole we don’t know how to escape from.
This isn’t good for anyone because it results in lower quality writing, fewer happy customers and an unhealthy life-work balance… and isn’t freedom from overwhelm and burnout the whole point of being a freelance writer in the first place?
When you work from home as a writer, learning to prevent and combat this burnout is crucial to long-term success. Let it happen too often, and you’ll find yourself looking for another 9-to-5 in just a few months. Nip it in the bud now, and you can enjoy a long, successful freelance writing career.
Do you want to avoid burnout in your writing career? I have some tips that can help:
Know Your Ideal Work Schedule
Setting regular working hours does not mean you need to return to a 9-to-5 situation. Your work hours will depend on your personal goals and how much time you have to invest in your freelance writing career.
The point is to recognize when you can work and stick to it.
Determine your work capacity for each day or week. Is your ideal day an 8-hour workday? Or are you more comfortable working 4-6 hours? Choose whatever hours you like and stick to them.
Keep this in mind when you’re approached by potential clients, and don’t agree to anything that will stretch you past capacity. Committing to more hours than you initially set, can lead to burnout quickly.
If there’s a project you want to take on, get creative and work with your clients to stagger deadlines so you’re not juggling too much at once. Let them know this is in their favor, as it allows you to produce the absolute best, most powerful content possible. Most clients are more than willing to be flexible on deadlines by a few days or even weeks as long as it is agreed upon at project inception.
Organization is key to avoiding burnout when you work from home as a writer.
Without a good calendar of deadlines or a solid to-do list in front of you, it’s hard to visualize everything you have on your plate – especially if you’re balancing multiple projects, as well as housework or caring for little ones.
Invest time and energy into creating an organizational system that works for you. Create an all-inclusive Google calendar that has all your deadlines, social commitments and other events, and sync it to your phone, computer and other devices. Make sure you always have visibility of your current workload and obligations. Proper time management is essential.
Keep it Fresh
Burnout isn’t just caused by overwork; it also occurs because we lose interest in our current work.
It’s nice to have long-term clients, but writing the same blogs and content over and over and over again can get tiring – and it can leave us itching for something more creative to dig our hands into.
If you want to avoid this type of burnout, don’t tie yourself down to too many long-term clients.
Leave room in your schedule for one-off clients each week or month, so you can take on new projects as you see fit. Long-term clients are super valuable—keep them going—but allocate time in your schedule for one-off projects that are more rewarding.
Also work in time for scouting job boards regularly, and catch projects that are interesting and inspiring to you. Being a good freelance writer isn’t just about making money; it’s also about doing what you love, so don’t let the boring projects get you down.
Change it Up
The mundane routines can get boring, especially for creative types. To beat the mundane blues and prevent burnout as a result, change it up once in a while.
Change up where you work. I know it’s nice and convenient to wake up and work from the couch in your PJs, but if you’re getting burnt out, take a break from the house and venture out into the real world.
Take your work to the park, sit down in a coffee shop or find a shared creative space in your area from which to work. Sometimes, the change of scenery is just what you need to get back on track.
You can also change up your schedule or your processes.
Do you usually work first thing in the morning and spend your afternoons at the gym? Switch it up and do the opposite.
Do you work late nights or into the wee hours of the morning? Work during the day and schedule dinner dates with friends instead. As long as you allot enough time to get your work done, it doesn’t matter when or how you do it!
Taking extended breaks from work is a luxury few professionals have, so take advantage of it!
Plan a two-hour lunch with your best friend, and get away from the computer screen for a while. Schedule a pedicure for the middle of a Wednesday, and finish off that deadline after dinner instead.
Breaks like these will keep your mind and body refreshed, and they’ll keep you excited and happy about your career choice.
Daily breaks aren’t the only thing I recommend though. I also think vacations can have a big impact on your state of mind as a worker. So plan that long weekend or that European getaway with your significant other, and don’t feel guilty about it one bit.
You can choose to take that time completely off from work and just enjoy your time away or, since our work can technically go anywhere, schedule in a few hours of work each day from your new locale. Just imagine… you could be typing that blog post while sitting at a café in Paris or on a beach in Puerto Rico instead of in your home office. Pull the trigger and go for it!
Say Goodbye to Burnout
When you work from home as a writer, it can be hard to stay motivated, inspired and excited about your job, but I promise: burnout happens to the best of us. Try my tips and let me know how you do.
Have you ever experienced burnout? How do YOU keep from getting overwhelmed?