The Life of a Freelance Writer

School ended Memorial Day weekend, and Patrick and I celebrated by heading to Lake Pickwick with our generous friends, Kyle and Sarah. Patrick learned to water ski, Cooper learned to swim, and I learned the importance of sunscreen greater than SPF 15.

Overall, a successful weekend.

When we got back to Nashville, I realized that I now have what I’ve been waiting for for six months: total freedom. I’m talking, no alarm clock, no curfew, no responsibilities, no nothing… that kind of freedom.  And with that freedom, I want to write.

My good, new friend Kim Green recently posted my story on her fabulous literary blog, The Greenery. In addition to being the impetus behind my courage to actually start calling myself a writer, Kim is a strong cheerleader, who keeps telling me I’m killing it, even when I feel a little wobbly.

You see, moving into the “self-employed” realm is taking a little creativity, and a little walk down memory lane. Here’s a few things I’ve decided about working for yourself.

1. I need a schedule. As much as I mused about looking forward to schedule-less days where I could write, blog, and drink coffee oh my! the truth is, I need a framework, or else I’ll get to 3 p.m. and realize I’ve written 140 characters, and it was a tweet.  So, I’ve reverted to my college-day tendency of lining out my day in one-hour increments of doable tasks

2. I need a technology curfew. The other night, Patrick got home from soccer at 8 p.m. to find me on the couch with a glass of wine, and my computer on my lap. Sadly for him (and our marriage), I didn’t take my eyes off the screen for two more hours… and our entire evening went by without really spending time together. What a shame. I was mad at myself for getting carried away, and not having self control. Work needs a quitting time every day, whether I hold a “normal” job or not. Most importantly, I need to turn off my computer (and iPhone) long before Patrick gets home.

3. I need to assign myself. There may be days when I don’t have pressing deadlines. I’ve already had a few of them (today included).  On those days, I need to learn to assign myself, whether its house-cleaning, painting a table I’ve been meaning to get to for months, or posting a blog entry of my own.  I’ve even started thinking I need to assign myself writing challenges, like writing 500 words a day of my own. (Maybe even for a novel?) Whatever I do, I need to work hard, and not let the days slip by unproductively.

A little project I’ve assigned myself recently:

4. I need to play hard. Last night, perhaps to make up for the night I stared at a computer for an ungodly number of hours, Patrick and I had a date night out at movies in the park.  They were showing The Help, and we stayed out til 11:00! On a school night! But you see, it’s not a school night, nor will my nights ever be school nights again. Though I am a self-proclaimed morning person, I need to take advantage of all this new schedule has to offer, and enjoy the freedom I now have… give myself permission to stay out late and sleep til 7:30… even though that feels late to me.

So, with that… I’d love to ask:

What do you think would be hardest about working on your own? Would you be good at setting your own schedule? Would it be easy to stay out late, or would that take some getting used to?