Thoughts on freelancing, redux

I’ve really appreciated all the thoughts on freelancing so many people have offered in the last little while. I’m getting into my groove, and my office works more efficiently every day. There’s not a lot to talk shop about here right now, though, so I’m afraid it’s been a lot of filler lately. I think a lot about people’s advice and apply it to how it works in my personal situation–for example Scalzi’s financial advice to those who want to write full time applies just as well to freelance writers; getting debt completely paid down and out of the way is a huge priority (as it always has been, but of course when your income is more sporadic you tend to become more militant about it).

Knowing the market and being willing to write/edit for things not exactly in your specific market (in my case, children’s and YA fantasy specifically and children’s fiction and nonfiction more generally) is essential, especially as you get started, to be able to make a living. Being willing to take jobs when they come and doing an excellent job at them spreads word of mouth about your abilities and builds your business; eventually it may grow to where you can accept the jobs that are only in your field but even then it’s good to be diverse. Markets change all the time, as we all know these days! It’s good to have options.

Having a separate office space where I go to work has been a huge help in this transition. Separating work space and sleep space, especially–not allowing the work to be done in the bedroom, even if it might occasionally invade the couch or the kitchen table–makes a huge difference in quality of life. This applies to both "at the office"–removing distractions from "home" that would make me feel like I should be doing laundry/washing dishes/vacuuming/cooking–and "at home"–removing work-related distractions that might otherwise invade the ability to get a good night’s rest, even if it might prevent me from watching all of Sanctuary without having to hit pause. 🙂

At first getting out of the house helped because it helped re-create the feeling of coworkers, but I found it cost more in time than I really wanted to spend, especially because I have such a nice workspace right here. What I find interesting, though, is that because the office is my editing space, I have to do my writing in other locations: on the couc
h, at the library, at a friend’s house. This is also an important mental separation of space that’s very important, because when I remove myself from my editing space, I can remove myself from my editing brain, if for only long enough to write a couple thousand words.

Anyway, further discussion on life as a freelancer welcome!