You’ve had those days.
A To Do list a couple of miles long with small, perfect squares to the left of each item just begging to be filled in with a check mark – Done!
Yet… what’s this? It’s the end of your day and there’s…. Nothing? Checked? OFF?!?!
Guilt. Sorrow. Anger. Frustration. Exhaustion. They all come flooding through you at once, making you feel all kinds of… stupid.
Stupid for not being more organized (or organized at all). For not looking at The List more often and get the quick-and-dirty things checked off and out-of-the-way. For letting yourself get swayed by book reading and nail painting and Kardashian watching.
That was me today. I will solemnly raise my right hand and swear I had better intentions for the 7-ish hours I had to myself today. You see, today is Gramma Day (well today, actually, it was Grampa Day because Gramma was busy serving a funeral luncheon. Much more fun, I’m sure). Each Thursday, Kids 1 and 2 toddle off to gramma’s for the entire day, leaving mummy dearest to her own devices. Before mat leave was over, that day was typically made of up of things like hair appointments, grocery shopping, oil changes and other mundane tasks typically found to be more easily accomplished without 2 children in tow. But since starting my own business as a freelance writer, Thursdays have become a work day for me. And so it should have been today.
And… okay. Technically, I worked. I worked on this blog. Did you notice anything different? I hope so because I just spent my day redoing, like, pretty much everything! I’ve decided that this blog is going to do double duty and serve as a website for my business. Because WordPress is awesome and lets you do that kind of thing (no kickbacks from WP for that mention, I swear).
One of the things I’ve struggled with since going into business for myself if feeling like I’m actually DOING something on my work days. Wednesday through Friday, the kids are elsewhere – day care 2 days and gramma/grampa 1 day – so that I can actually work. I know there are those out there who swear I sit and read/paint my nails/watch Kardashians every day the kids are gone but my nails just aren’t that nice for that to actually be happening.
No, really. I work. Writing is my work, and it does happen. Just not every day.
There are A LOT of things to sort out when you become a freelance writer. I’m sure it’s a very similar situation for anyone who’s ever decided to leave a guaranteed pay check and start their own business with the idea of again, someday, gaining another guaranteed pay check via their chosen “dream job.” But in the mean time – holy hell.
Tax forms. Bank stuff. Branding. Learning how to actually become a writer and how to be successful at it, a.k.a. educating myself on what not to do. Coming up with a NAME for myself as a business other than, you know, my name. And writing. Sure, there’s that. But in order to write, I need clients to write for (I have some of those already, and THANK YOU!).
Somewhere along the line, though, I’ve equated “doing something/being productive” with only one thing, and that’s landing a paying client. I get that landing a paying client definitely IS considered being productive but it is certainly not all-encompassing. There are just way too many other things to do to get and keep your business going when you’re a one-woman show like I am.
It’s all been a wee bit overwhelming. And so I feel like a stupid, blubbery lump of nothing when I don’t send out queries or pitches or actually, you know, get work.
But a huge thing that I’ve learned to do already is soldier on. Having a tough day? Soldier on. Writer’s block? Pin a writing prompt, read a fellow writer or blogger’s blog and soldier on. Does your website look like shit? Take a day, figure it out and soldier on (hence, today).
So even though I didn’t land a paying client today (yet – it’s only 7:39pm after all. Ha!), I need to be okay with that and, more importantly, understand that I’m not stupid if I don’t land a paying client. I’m sure someday (soon? Could it be soon?) I’ll land a paying client every day (or every other. Whatever, I’ll take it!) but for right now, I’ll settle for filling in that little square box with a nice, firm check mark instead.