Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I Hate My Freelance Writing Career! (Part I of II)

If you’ve lost your passion for your writing career, here’s why and how to get it back -- with a vengeance!

In my 5/10 post entitled “What to Do When You’re Tired of Writing,” I kvetched about being tired of writing. I had just run out of steam. I had no desire to do it – in fact I dreaded it.

I recently got my writing groove back. I actually look forward to turning on my computer. So, I asked myself, “What happened? Why do I feel so differently now, when I was considering a career change just a few weeks ago.”

After examining the issue in detail, I discovered a few things that I think other freelance writers can learn from.

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Reasons You May Have Lost Your Writing Passion & How to Get It Back

Doing Too Much: The main reason I was burned out on writing is that I was doing too much. To understand this a little better, you have to understand my (your) personality. I’m a Type A personality.

According to the article, Type A Personality Traits: Characteristics and Effects of a Type A Personality, on “. . . the following characteristics are the hallmark characteristics of Type A Behavior (TAB):

Time Urgency and Impatience: [Type A’s] are always painfully aware of the time And how little of it they have to spare. Type A behavior often includes . . . competitiveness [and] strong achievement-orientation.
The traits about Type A personality that really personify me is time and strong achievement-orientation:

Time: I’m constantly aware of how much time I don’t have – and am always trying to pack in more, more and more. This leads to frustration and exhaustion.

Strong achievement-orientation: I’m an over-achiever. I always have been. The older I get though, the more I realize that it works just as hard against you, as for you, if you don’t control it.

I always have a million ideas floating around my head – and never enough time to implement them. For example, I had driven myself to update all of Inkwell Editorial’s e-books, am re-launching our newsletter, am putting together a freelance writing seminar and have ideas for three more e-books I’m itching to get started on.

This is just off the top of my head. There is more in a “To Do” folder sitting on my desk. This makes me frustrated; I feel like I’m falling behind, so I drive myself harder. This leads to exhaustion – mental and physical.

If any of this sounds familiar, how can you combat it?

Solution I: Scale back. That’s what I did. I just took a few days off. While I was off, I queried myself why I was driving me so hard.

The answer is, I have goals that I want to accomplish and I’m so afraid of not getting there that I just push, push, push. I had to remind myself that if I were doing everything I can, what I want would come. I just have to trust in that.

Solution II: Examine your personality. Ask if your intrinsic makeup is causing you to approach your freelance writing career in such a way that it’s causing you problems.

In my case, I’m not the type [Type A] to leave things to chance. I’m a proactive – not reactive writer, which is why I don’t have the patience for magazine writing, for example. Why? Because you have to query and wait.

I’m much more comfortable as a commercial freelance writer, which is more immediate. I usually approach the client (proactive), I have control over the deadline, the invoicing, the editorial changes, etc.

Knowing your personality makes you more aware of how you need to handle your freelance career for maximum happiness – which leads to increased profits.

TOMORROW: Part II of this post will examine two more reasons you may hate your freelance writing career – and what you can do about it.
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