Tuesday, July 05, 2011

My big decision

I mentioned last week that over the course of my vacation, I did some cleaning house, in both a literal and figurative sense: I rearranged my workspace, but I also rearranged my career plans, as well.

If you've followed my blog for a while, you know that I've been really struggling with my productivity and time management for probably the past couple of years.  Every once and a while, I'll come up with something — a new way of taking breaks or motivating myself, a new chair, etc. — that seems to solve the problem for a little while, but it never lasts long.

Some time ago — maybe a few weeks or even a month or two — I had an epiphany: My productivity is suffering because I'm not doing what I most want to do.  It's not that I don't enjoy my work — once I stop procrastinating, I usually do enjoy it, and am able to finish articles and other work quickly.  But I also tend to feel really burnt out all the time, and it makes it difficult to get stuff done.

The thing is, I love freelancing and the freedom it offers me, but I also set out to be a writer with one ultimate goal in mind: to write fiction.  And I haven't been making time for that.  A couple of years ago, I tried to devote an hour a day to my own projects, but it didn't work out very well.  I was trying to assign time I didn't have in my day, essentially.

So here's my decision: I'm going to essentially go part-time with my freelancing business.  I want to try to divide my time pretty evenly: half to client work, and half to fiction (research and writing) and other projects of my own choosing (blogging, some ebooks of my own, etc.).  This means cutting back somewhat on the amount of work I take, as well as the amount of time I spend marketing (or should spend marketing — I've been a bit lax about that).  I've talked it over with my husband, and he is supportive; plus I was able to reduce my bills a little recently, so I can afford to make a little less.

I'm still only in the initial stages of the transition, but I've already started doing some research on a novel idea has been burning a hole in my head since November (I thought of it last year during NaNoWriMo).  I'll blog about it some more as I make the transition to half-freelancer, half-novelist, and I'll start updating my "Current Project" section in the sidebar again once I start working on the new novel (the old one will get shelved for now, to be finished at a later date).

It's a major change to both my mindset and my career, and I'm very excited; hopefully this excitement is what I need to make me want to work again!


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Good for you. You only live once... I think. If you love writing fiction, it's important to make time for it. Otherwise, life and the bills get a hold of you and next thing you know you are 80-years-old and wondering why you never wrote that book.

Lori said...

I think that sounds like a great decision. If you're not in love with what you're doing, then switch gears and do what you want.

I love that you're taking this step, Katharine. We should all be that brave to follow our hearts. :)

Katharine Swan said...

Thanks, ladies!

NM, I know what you mean about life and bills getting a hold of you. Hopefully I'll be able to break that hold.

Lori, I completely agree -- and I wish I'd realized sooner WHY I've been so burnt out with freelancing. I'm struggling a bit with the transition right now -- or rather, the idea that I need a transition period, rather than stepping right into the half-and-half work schedule that I envisioned. I thought it was going to be easier... But I guess being in the middle of a transition is better than not doing anything about it at all, right?


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