Today’s thought-provoking guest post is from the lovely Rachael Judd. To learn more about her, read my Seven Questions with her.
Have you ever looked at the project in front of you and it just stares back blankly? Eventually the staring ends as you decide to browse Twitter or jump on Tumblr for just a few minutes. Hours, days or weeks later the project is still lingering, incomplete.
It’s easy to slack off and “forget” to write or “not have time” to write if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve.
~WOW! Women On Writing Blog: Goal Setting for Writers
As I was surfing my Twitter this week I ran across this quote above. It came from a blog talking about setting goals for your blogging, but I think this last line takes it much further than goal setting.
Asked simply: Why are you writing today?
In some professions the answer to WHY is quite simple. For a freelance writer, this question is much harder to answer.
Over the past several months I have been asking myself this very question. I started freelancing “on the side”, as many of us do, for some extra cash. During that time I started my own blog as a chance to write about something I was really passionate about. Then, freelancing became my “career”, blogging happens when I have energy and something about writing has changed.
I truly enjoy the flexibility of working for myself and I find the challenges of self employment to be minimal. However, recently I have noticed something missing. As writing has emerged into a career I have seen it go from fun and exciting to difficult and overwhelming, the spark is gone.
Previously, the question “Why are you writing today?” was answered with “This is something I’m passionate about.” Recently I’ve been answering that question with “I have the capability, time, energy and connections to make an income at it.” And that is where I am now.
Asking a new question. Can passion and income really intersect?
YES! Freelancing is a choice and a risk. One of the reasons to make the choice and take the risk is to watch your passion and your income intersect.
However, to make this work the scales have to be balanced.
Too much passion usually means a lot of fun but very little income. Taking on too many income opportunities may mean a full bank roll but very little enjoyment in the process.
Challenge: Make a change.
If you want to be a freelance writer for a career, stop and take a look at your scale. Do you have too much weight on one side? Are you loving each project but eating Ramen every day? Are you enjoying Starbucks multiple times a day but dreading sitting at your computer?
At different points in the freelancing process sacrifices have to be made in favor of one side or the other for practical reasons, but before freelancing changes from passion to prison make sure you take full assessment of each step along the way.
To tip my scale back into balance I need to say no to a few paying projects that aren’t a “must” to my pocket book and say yes to some passion projects. For me, a passion project includes some magazine submissions where I just haven’t pulled the trigger. It’s a risk since there is no guaranteed acceptance which also means no guaranteed pay. BUT, the payoff is the satisfaction of sitting at my laptop and feeling joy with every word that is labored over.
For now, that is enough to keep my career afloat and hopefully get me back on the write path!
Why are you writing today?