What Do People See in Freelancing, Anyway?

I just finished a huge project; 280,000 words of a textbook/manual. It was a 6th edition, so that made the work less daunting, but I had exactly three weeks to finish it. That’s kind of like reading War and Peace in a few days. That’s right; no break.

Here’s the cool thing: I loved it! It kept my mind occupied from what could have otherwise been a trying and stressful time relating to my personal life. One of the things I like best is the way that time passes as I’m copy editing. Actually, it’s more like time stands still, or doesn’t exist at all. I have to remind myself every now and then to stand up, move around, and eat something.

My 19 pound lap cat.

Apples and me, editing.

Freelancing has its challenges, for sure. Sometimes there’s too much free time between projects. Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to sit and work. It’s even harder to market myself most days. But you know what? The freedom to call my life my own trumps all of that. I’ve learned to scale back my wants and needs, which comes from┬ánot only freelancing but also from the realization over the last several months that life holds far more meaning for me than acquiring things, or status, or constantly striving.

I strove most of my working life (before freelancing) to become successful. Many times I reached a pinnacle of success and didn’t even realize it, because I was never done striving. Now I’m content to live with far fewer expectations, desires, and wants, and it has made my life so much easier. The people I surround myself with are what is important now. The life experiences I create for myself make me feel whole and satisfied. I’ve arrived at a place in my life that I wish I’d found years ago: to just relax into being alive and appreciating the small things.

If you find yourself at a crossroads in life, think really hard about what is important to you. Is it money? Stability? Friends? Travel? Make those important things your goals and forget the rest. Figure out an easy way to pay your bills (one that you don’t hate) and use that as a means to enjoy the important bits. That’s what I’m working on, and so far it feels right.