I have been a freelance writer for the past 10 years. While I’ve also had full-time office jobs, I’ve always gone back to the freelance lifestyle. There have been good years and not so good years financially. There have been years where I’ve achieved major bylines and worked with incredible, big name clients, and others where I have churned out bland content, writing for less money than I thought I deserved.
It’s all part of the process. There is never a time when you hit a milestone and then everything just keeps going up and up and up from there. I’ve been around rich and famous people whom I thought had it all figured out, but even they struggled and were never on a true upward trajectory. If you are, it only lasts a short time. There are highs, but they don’t stick around forever.
What has been most valuable to me is finding purpose outside of my work … some sort of meaning that will be there after the big paycheck or byline comes in. Today, that purpose includes my spirituality, my health, my husband, my pets, my family, my friends, and connecting with others.
I used to make work the focus on my life; I became a financially successful workaholic, raking in record paychecks. But I was miserable. I wasn’t taking time to myself. I was working Saturday nights and Sundays in addition to the 40+ hours I’d put in during the week. I wasn’t nourishing my soul. And because I was rundown and sad, I spent more money than I made. It was truly ironic.
This was around the end of 2018, which was the worst year of my life since I was a depressed, angsty teenager in high school. I knew I had to make a change, even if it meant giving up money and work.
I quit some jobs and refocused. I started praying every single day and getting a good night’s sleep. I switched to a mostly plant-based diet. The results have been amazing. I feel more in touch with myself than ever before. I feel like every day, I’m discovering myself more and more … which is critical when you’re attempting to connect with and influence others through your writing.
But it’s not like everything is perfect. I’m still struggling to find well-paying clients. My industry is dying, and rates are steadily decreasing. I don’t know what I’m going to do, aside from hope that something meaningful I’m doing takes off (and that I can actually enjoy it this time).
There is beauty in the unknown at least. I look back on all those times of uncertainty that of course worked themselves out and think, “Wow, I wish I had known at the time how great my life was going to be.”
Now, when I’m feeling down or hopeless, I always keep that in mind. I bounce back very quickly. I’ve realized it’s all mind games. It’s up to me to make myself happy and feel fulfilled, not some client or boss or paycheck. I have to constantly self-soothe, trust that I know what I’m doing, and have faith that the answers will come at the right times.
I hope that you’re able to do the same.