Guest Post: Overcoming Freelance Writing Burnout: Recognizing the Signs and Rekindling Your Passion

June 18, 2024

Working as a freelance writer is the dream for many aspiring wordsmiths. Landing your first freelance gig is exciting, too. It’s a sign that your syntax is stylish and that your command of grammar is strong enough to command a great hourly rate.

However, as your freelance writing business grows, you may notice that your initial enthusiasm for writing wanes. This can be seriously concerning if you’ve spent years sharpening up your sentences and networking with prospective clients.

Rather than throwing in the towel and returning to a corporate job, find ways to overcome burnout and rekindle your passion for prose. Recognizing the signs of burnout early can help you pivot away from tasks you don’t enjoy and may help you discover new ways to take care of the parts of the job that you enjoy the least.

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Burnout

Burnout is easy to overlook if you’re at the helm of a growing freelancing business. It’s all too easy to overwork yourself when you have plenty of work coming in and may find that “making hay” soon becomes burdensome. Rather than mistakenly believing that you can’t afford to take your foot off the pedal, consider checking yourself for the signs of burnout, which include:

  • Feeling depleted or lacking energy
  • Increased mental distance from your job
  • Reduced professional efficacy

These are sure signs that something is wrong at work — particularly if you previously loved writing. However, it may not be work that is necessarily sapping all of your energy. If you’re tired all the time, it may be due to external factors like:

  • Dehydration
  • Insufficient sleep
  • Poor diet
  • Vitamin D deficiency

These external factors may be playing a role in your burnout. Fatigue and tiredness are also caused by stress and anxiety, meaning there may be a blend of issues that are undermining your passion for writing. Recognizing this reality is key if you’re close to shutting down your freelancing firm, as you may be a few simple dietary or habitual changes away from rekindling your passion and productivity as a writer.

Working From Home

Working from home (WFH) can be a real boon if you are easily distracted by peers and want to work at your own pace. A WFH set-up can also help you keep your costs under control, as you can easily save money that would have been spent on commuting or office rental when working remotely.

However, you can’t expect to write from your couch or kitchen counter every day and expect to be productive. Instead, utilize some work-from-home tricks that have a proven track record, including:

  • Set a routine and stick to it
  • Focus on one project at a time
  • Plan your meals and take long lunches
  • When it’s time to shut down, log off and do not check your work emails while you should be relaxing

Finding a routine that works for you can bring balance back to your life and help you enjoy the freedom that comes with freelancing. If you’re struggling to find a productive routine, consider taking inspiration from high-profile freelance writer Diana Kelly Levey, who maintains a daily routine that includes:

  • Taking care of kids, pets, and meal prep before the day truly starts
  • Starting working early; preferably around 8 am
  • Maintaining a to-do list so you can assess your top priorities
  • Using the afternoon to complete non-writing tasks like invoicing or marketing yourself

This approach accounts for the fact that most freelancers feel more productive in the morning. This can make a world of difference if you’re used to logging on sometime around midday and struggle to get your tasks done before early evening.

Finding Hobbies

The writing life can be a lot of fun. However, if all you do is write, you’re almost certain to become burnt out at work. This is entirely normal, particularly if you aren’t enthusiastic about the topic that you’re currently working on. Rather than spending all day at the keyboard, consider starting some non-writing hobbies.

Non-writing hobbies can help your writing process, too. Regular travel gives you a deeper appreciation for the world around you and may help you type up unique insights when you return to work. Similarly, exercise has been shown to improve mental focus by increasing blood flow to the brain. That may be why prolific writers like Haruki Murakami swear by running as a way to improve health and bolster productivity when you sit down to work.

Conclusion

Responding to burnout quickly is crucial if you’re a freelance writer. You can’t afford to let your standards slip and should have a plan in place if your interest in writing starts to fade. Rather than retiring your keyboard, account for burnout by taking proactive measures to improve your diet, pivot towards more interesting article briefs, and build better habits that support your health and well-being.

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Guest Post: Overcoming Freelance Writing Burnout: Recognizing the Signs and Rekindling Your Passion
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Guest Post: Overcoming Freelance Writing Burnout: Recognizing the Signs and Rekindling Your Passion
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Recognizing the signs of burnout early can help you pivot away from tasks you don’t enjoy and may help you discover new ways to take care of the parts of the job that you enjoy the least.
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Man of la Book - A Bookish Blog
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