There are so many great things about being a freelance writer. But sometimes, freelance writing can begin to feel stale making it hard to write (hello, writer’s block!). What should you do? Walk away. No, really, I mean it.
A few years ago, I was sitting on the couch editing a piece I’d written for a magazine and felt an overwhelming sense of boredom. I was forcing myself to finish the work, but couldn’t seem to muster the slightest bit of enthusiasm about it. As a freelance writer, that was pretty devastating since I love writing — that’s why I chose it as a career.
I’d fallen into a vicious cycle. The harder it was to write, the less I would do. And the less I would do, the harder it was to write. Everything felt the same — each piece, each assignment, each day. It look a little while, but eventually I realized that the sameness was caused by the lack of new experiences in my life. Instead of getting out and doing things, seeing things and experiencing new things, I was sitting at home every day. I would take care of the kids, work, watch TV, work some more, sleep, rinse, repeat. It’s really no wonder I was bored.
If you aren’t experiencing things, it’s hard to inject your work with life — because you don’t have anything new to talk about.
Feeling like this? Then you might just be living in a bubble like I was. And guess what? The best thing you can do is to walk away. Right now. Leave the house. Go for a walk. Go have lunch out. Meet friends. Experience the new gallery in town. Do something. But don’t just do something once — make a commitment to do new things regularly. Every few days or at least once a week. It doesn’t have to be big things. Anything outside your comfort zone will do.
For me, it took a grand gesture of walking away to revive everything. When the opportunity to do something completely different — to head to Walt Disney World for a conference — arose, I jumped at the chance. Not only did it mean that my kids could experience the breathtaking magic, but it also meant fresh experiences for me. And guess what? It helped.
Since then, I have prioritized experiences. It doesn’t mean necessarily jetting off to Florida for a few days in the Magic Kingdom though — opportunities are everywhere. You just have to say yes. Nature walks, volunteering at my kids’ schools, stopping into a new deli … they all give an opportunity to peak beyond the confines of my personal bubble. It enriches my life, and provides inspiration for articles and recipes to pitch to clients. Best of all, it nourishes my creativity.
The bottom line? You can’t live in a bubble — even when you feel so down that the words aren’t coming. In fact, if anything, that’s when you need to break out and do something the most. If you are feeling the sameness, stop what you are doing and find something completely different — and perhaps new — to do instead. It will help.