A Freelancing Mom’s Game Plan

20150711_094550A lot of mothers have gone before me as stay-at-home moms. And a lot of professionals have gone before me as stay-at-home freelancers. I am thankful for all of them, their advice and their example. But I am also thankful for those who combined the two and lived to tell the tale.

As I type, my son grunts and squeaks his way through tummy time, lifting his head and then dropping it in frustration. He’ll build those muscles soon enough, and I get to stay home and watch it happen.

Motherhood is a challenge. Even as I write that, I have to start typing one handed as I scoop little Yoon up and distract him with a toy. Baby attention spans are short, and babies are still developing the skills necessary for, well, everything. With that in mind, freelancing in the midst of motherhood is a double challenge. But it’s one worth taking. In order to really get my work done, and done well, I have to develop new tactics:

  • Babysitters. Knowing who I can ask, and when they’re available. One lesson I’m still learning is to accept offers of free babysitting from friends and family without feeling guilty.
  • Naps. Using the baby’s naps for either focused work or genuine rest. Sometimes I’ve got to get a nap of my own in order to function.
  • Flexibility. Using those 10 and 15 minute windows instead of waiting for a whole hour. As Maria from The Sound of Music so sweetly says, “When God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.” (Thank you Julie Andrews!)
  • Grace. Forgiving myself for being tired and less productive than I’d like. It’s a work in progress, and I’ve got to remember how much I’ve already progressed over the last 3 months.

It’ll take time to get used to everything, especially since children develop at an amazing rate during their first year. So, fellow freelancers and fellow mothers, how do you make it work? 

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Just reinventing my life as I know it. Don’t mind me.

So it’s time to write a blog post and I’m stumped. I’m in the middle of buying a house with my husband, and even though that doesn’t take that much of my time away from my personal writing, it sure takes up a lot of mental and emotional energy.

We discuss over and over how to finish certain paperwork, how we’re going to move, and what construction projects we’ll start first. I browse magazines for potential paint colors. He searches craigslist for a refrigerator. Everyone around me gets the low down on what’s up, whether or not they actually ask for it.

In the meantime, I still get up at 5:30 every morning and try to start my days as though everything is normal. As a freelance writer who has few external time restraints, discipline has become quite difficult. People ask me for advice on how freelancers should budget time and create schedules, and I can give them a lot of helpful tips and access which will work best for them depending on their needs, but for myself? Staying focused is hard.

Today I’m reminding myself of the advice that I give to others: when your usual habits don’t fit your phase of life anymore, get ready to mix things up. Don’t expect old schedules to work in new environments. You’ve got to reinvent yourself. Things would be a lot easier if we lived in a cookie-cutter world, where the circle always has a circle space to fit into, but it’s more complex–and much more fantastic–than that. Since I’m preparing myself for a move, I can’t focus as much at home. I’ve got to get out of the house more than before. It’s not bad per say, it’s just an adjustment that I need to make for the next few weeks.

So, chat time. How’s life? Any big changes going on?

From the Forge: Key Benefits of Collaboration

People balance us when we go a little crazy: encouraging us when we drag our feet, checking us when we rush into the blue, and critiquing us when our heads get swollen. After dealing with all of our manic behavior, hopefully they are still willing to collaborate with us.

Teamwork enables amazing opportunities, yet risks great hurt. Though I want to address potential cons and how to avoid them, let’s begin with some heartening pros… Read More at StoryForge, and see the fantastic illustrations that accompany!

 

 

 

Friday Reflections: Generous Networking

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I believe that Roberts is referring to Stephen King’s advice from “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,” which I would highly recommend.

With the advent of social media, creatives can link directly to their audiences, creating informational immediacy, revolutionizing professional relationships, and necessitating business savvy. See the articles below to discover the best advice from the online world of writing and freelance:

The Stephen King Drawer Method for Writing Better Copy” – Stacey Roberts addresses her fellow writers and bloggers, encouraging them to improve their work with one simple hint: give space. Though it’s tempting to press ‘publish’ right after typing a blog post, maybe you should try out Stephen King’s drawer method.

The Network Effect: How Joining Forces with Fellow Freelancers can Jumpstart Your Career” – Ritika Puri offers advice that all creatives can benefit from: don’t stiff-arm the competition. In her article at The Freelance Strategist, she encourages freelancers to network, connect, and collaborate. Since Puri focuses mostly on freelancers, her article serves as a great launch point for next week’s StoryForge article on artistic collaboration.

7 Things I learned from the World’s Best Marketers” – As an artist, you might think that you can leave the business stuff to the business people. Incorrect! Especially with the immediacy of social media, marketing skills are necessary to make your way in the world. Learn from Tiana Warner, as she guest blogs for Jane Friedman.

SLY and Freelancing

As you have probably noticed, many of my posts have mentioned StoryForge recently, so maybe it’s time to update you on my career direction!

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I thought that you might want a face to go with the name 😉 My husband and I in Michigan last October. The face he is making—that’s from the cold, haha

Several weeks ago I quit my teaching job. It was a difficult but quick decision; I love the people that I worked with, but I wanted to focus more on my freelancing. I’m still writing interior decor articles (and loving it), and recently I started working with marking proposals, copyediting, and graphic design for another company. While they stretch me Continue reading

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The third installation of my freelancing article series on StoryForge! If you’re starting to dabble in freelancing, check out parts One, Two, and Three.

Query it Up: How Freelancing Will Improve Your Writing Career – Part 3