June 13, 2012
How To Avoid Becoming a Writing Hermit By Lisa Evans
Two years ago, I quit my full-time job as a marketing professional to follow my dream and become a freelance writer. Eager to escape the gray cubicle walls that confined me, I conjured images of myself lounging on the sofa in my pajamas, my laptop resting on my knees as I methodically tapped out story after story. I enjoyed my new wardrobe - happy to have ditched the high-heels and pencil skirts - and relished the freedom to make my own schedule, but was shocked to find that I missed the office. Well, not the office exactly, but the daily jaunts to the coffee shop downstairs, chatting with co-workers in the office kitchen and team meetings that I'd previously found tedious and futile that now seemed welcome distractions to the loneliness I faced in my new life as a writer.
I was quickly becoming a hermit - trapped in a solitary world, chatting over email with editors and occasionally Skyping with interviewees. I ached to get out of the house, but worried that hours spent away from my desk would be a speed bump in the road to cash flow. I had to come up with a strategy - a way to pry my hands away from the keyboard while simultaneously improving my bottom line. Here's how I did it:
1 - Attend Courses and Writing Conferences
Course assignments forced me to hone in on ideas and put pen to paper, resulting in query letters being sent out. Over the two month course period, I earned enough in assignments to cover the cost of all three freelance writing courses I've taken this year.
Attending a conference is another way to get the mental wheels turning, and is a great way to meet fellow writers and editors. Conferences deliver a wealth of practical information on how to improve your business, discover different markets and even provide opportunities to sell a piece to an editor - one who is likely more relaxed after a night in a plush hotel and a couple martinis, and more receptive to hearing your pitch than he/she would be on a typical Wednesday afternoon sitting at their desk answering a bunch of emails.
2 - Attend Trade Shows
3 - Set up Shop in Cafes and Shared Office Spaces
Co-working spaces are a great option for writers who simply can't deal with the distractions of home. Setting up a co-working space can also be a nice side business if you are renting out desk space to other freelancers.
4 - Take Yoga Classes or Join a Gym or an Organized Sports Team
The bottom line? The best ideas are often generated from the people around you. So, get out, have fun and improve your business at the same time.
Lisa Evans is a freelance writer who splits her time between Toronto, Canada and Chiapas, Mexico. Visit her website http://lisa-m-evans.weebly.com.
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