Freelancing: Even When You Don't Feel Like It

Beep! Open email. Crash. Burn. Your “Gym Rat For Life” piece has been rejected by yet another editor.

After 15 rejections on the same piece, you start to feel a little dejected. Questions start making question your abilities - “Should I even really be writing?” “What if I’m trying to do the impossible?” “Why don’t they like my work?”

Going Into Shut Down

The first thing that I want to do when I get bad news is head for the snack cabinet in our house. Yeah, it’s not a pretty sight - during or after. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this right now amongst some chaos and unpleasantry going on right now. I’d love to be chowing on some chips and chocolate (not necessarily separately) right now. There’s a fire in my stomach that makes me want to throw everything in the trash. But I don’t. Instead of letting my family pains get in the way, I’m choosing to barrel forward.

The life of a freelancer or writer doesn’t slow down when we don’t feel good. Deadlines don’t go away or automatically get pushed back because things aren’t going our way. On the contrary, they seem to come at us harder.

But, no matter how bad we want to stop. We can’t.

Emotions Block The Path

Negative emotions can really throw a freelancer off balance. When you’ve got editors or clients to answer to, they’re not particularly interested in WHY you didn’t turn in your assignment on time. But when your mind is preoccupied with the negative emotions that revolve around what you’re going through or that stem from depression or anxiety, thinking clearly is beyond difficult.

So your mind goes blank. (Or it keeps flashing to the thing that shut you down). You’d want avoid the emotions and the work altogether.


Your business depends on your ability to cope.

[tweetable]Successful freelancers deal with the crappy days just as they do the dancing-in-the-kitchen days.  Tweet this![/tweetable] Thanks!

Working from home creates a whole spectrum of issues that make the setting difficult to work in: the kids are having a bad day (and, thus, so are you!), your mom is on the way over because she wants to know why you’re not married yet, but you’re still turning away the girls she sends over, or the neighbor’s dog has literally not stopped barking since 9am.

Whatever the reason, you’ve had it.

Your tired and frustrated so instead of producing, you go into hiding. Your negative emotions just prevent your fingers from tapping out the rhythm that you know they can.

But when you can hash out piece after piece, in spite of the thunder in your head, and put your projects behind you, you’ve reached professional status and are no longer at the mercy of your emotions.

So how can you do that?

Ideas To Push You Through

First, let’s be clear, this isn’t easy. It isn’t pretty. But rarely anything worth your sweat in the end is going to be. (And here’s your gratuitous medical disclaimer: I’m not a doc, nor have I played one on TV, however, this is what I’ve seen work and what works for me.:))

Tuck them away

I’m not a particularly good compartmentalizer, but my brother and my husband are (maybe it’s a guy thing?). But people that can create a little box to store the negativity in have a distinct advantage over people (like me) who can’t - occupationally speaking, of course. Perhaps you’ve never tried “locking” away your issues. However, I don’t recommend that they stay that way. Just lock them away until you are in a better situation to deal with them - like when you’ve completed your Focus Session.

Put them front and center

Give yourself time to wallow in your sadness or frustration for a while. Literally set a timer and give yourself time to get the emotions out there. When the timer dings, tuck away the negativity and focus again. Besides, if you were enjoying the wallowing, you can always go back to it in 90 minutes when your Focus Session is over.

Use Music to Soothe

Music is the soundtrack of our lives. You can turn on the sad songs like Alicia Sparks suggests and stay in your moments before you get started (by the way, Sparks, I think I’d add anything Matchbox 20 to your list - back on topic, Tania...). Or you can up the beat a little and play a little Blind Melon or my personal favorite, Don Omar, and wiggle the yuckies away.

Beat the CRAP out of it

Yeah. It works. If you have a heavy bag, duke out those frustrations. If you don’t have one, shadow box. And if you’re really desperate for something to hit...have a wrestling match with your significant other or beat your pillows from your bed. Whatever you do, get lost in it. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to fight and not get caught up in it.

Write it out

Or, you can choose to do what I’ve done here.


In the face of my sad spiders (Luca Harding, Yesterday’s Gone - read it!), I choose to write - not to let them crawl me into the funk that I could so easily sit in right now.  And what did I get? A post. Project number 4 on my Focus List for today. Yay!

As a freelancer, you work (and work well!), or you don’t get paid. Period. Choose to wallow in your funk or choose to earn - even when you don’t feel like it - it's up to you.

You’re a Fit Freelancer. In spite of the turmoil and chaos that twists and turns over your head, you’re a survivor and you WILL succeed!

What tips do you have to working through a funk? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!



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