Image from christopherwink.com
I’ve started freelance copywriting. It’s just a few hours a week alongside my weekday job but it gives me the chance to do something I love (writing) for money (yay) and hopefully, once my degree is out of the way, I’ll be able to take it further.
I’ve always had a picture in my head from being very small as to what being a writer meant and what they did, from penning a novel to writing advertising copy. In my head it was all flourishing fountain pens, maxi skirts and moleskin notebooks. In a garret somewhere, possibly Paris, with a large desk and a great view. All seen through my very soft focus mind glasses with a filter like Sierra or maybe Earlybird.
Turns out, it’s not like that. Whodathunkit? I sit at the kitchen table because we don’t have space for a desk. I’m in Sheffield not Paris, and the cat has most likely been sick on my notebook from Staples. However, I’m writing and earning a small amount of money doing something that I love. I may have only been doing it a few weeks but I’ve learnt a few things which I wanted to share just in case it helps you too, freelance or not:
Seriously, no one has ever kicked ass in a dressing gown. I wouldn’t go to my place of work for my everyday job in a dressing gown. For a start, I’d be laughed at and then everyone would be a bit concerned. I wouldn’t feel as professional and ‘on it’. I achieve more when I look the part – possibly sad but true. Why would I be less professional just because I’m at home and it’s the weekend? You need to be more professional not less when you are the business and you want to impress. It doesn’t matter that no one can see you, you can see you and that affects your mentality.
Know When You Work Best.
Are you a night owl or a morning person? There are tonnes of tests online but seriously, use your noggin and think about what you do. Do you feel bright and alert once you’re out of bed or do you need to drink a gallon of coffee and only crank it up when the stars come out? I’m a morning person. Up and at ‘em when the light is best and once I’m done, I still have the day ahead of me. If I try to do anything brain related after 8pm, it will be rubbish.
You will get distracted. Come on, you’re at home where all your toys and trinkets are. There’s washing to be done and of course, you have to reorganize your wardrobe right NOW. Oh look, ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ is on…Plan in some time to get distracted. Let yourself do the washing up or look at bags on Net-a-Porter for 20 minutes. Trying not to be distracted is like going on a diet and filling the house with chocolate. You will succumb eventually. So allow yourself some time to get away from what you are meant to be doing but then get back down to it. You’ll probably feel fresher and have better ideas too.
Don’t Wait For Someone To Tell You What To Do.
For me, this has been the biggest learning curve. It’s finally clicked for me that you don’t need someone to tell you what to do next. Or that once the 9-5 day is over, everything has to stop and you just watch TV, eat and go to bed. I can get up at 7am on a Saturday and write for 2 hours if I want to, no one needs to tell me to do this. I can even get up BEFORE WORK (shock horror) and write too! This ‘waiting to be told’ is a deep rooted behaviour for me. It’s not like I was a complete automaton but at school I might have been top set, but I waited to be told what to do next by the teacher. At work, I’d be given tasks, do them and get more. No one ever said, hey you don’t have to come home, watch TV, eat and go to bed. You can work a 9-5 job and do other stuff too. You could use your brain and this thing called ‘free time’ and use them both differently. Do something with them. What? That’s up to you. Click.
I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more in the weeks and months to come and if you are a freelance writer, or freelance anything, let me know what helps you.