As a freelance writer, whether you work in journalism or prose/poetry, you’re told to hustle. Getting those gigs can lead to more revenue and experience and deeper relationships with editors.
But the dark side of all that hustle is burnout, which can develop as a benign feeling of low-grade anxiety and elevate to feeling overwhelmed and overworked, leading to both emotional and physical degradation.
To avoid burnout, take time out of each day to meditate, read, and/or work out. Exercise is a fantastic stress-reliever, even if you hit the cardio for 10 minutes in between projects. Go for a walk if that’s the speed you prefer, and try to saunter in as much nature as you can to give your brain a healthy respite from screen time.
Carve out time for social hangs with friends. Writing can be a lonely vocation so you might need to refuel your mental energy with an outing with friends or family who can take your mind off work, even if only for an hour or two.
Also, write on topics that interest you. I’ve found that when I write solely for the paycheque and the portfolio, I’m not as engaged in the work as I am with content that truly inspires me. For example, when I wrote about a horror film for Rue Morgue, I knew I wasn’t getting decent pay but it was well-needed break from the non-stop business reporting I was doing at the time. That was also an important method of re-fuelling.
And finally…remember to drink water! I’ve learned that the hard way when I’m non-stop interviewing and writing and researching and suddenly find myself stressed out and parched, leading to some painful headaches.
Do you want to learn how to level up your freelance career? Consider taking one of my 1-on-1 online coaching courses, whether you work in journalism or a creative field.