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Posts tagged ‘relaxation’

The Pull Between Freelance Earning and Relaxation

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write until a couple of minutes ago. I spent all day long on my working writing (Demand Media Studios, adjusting my writing schedule at Bright Hub, my book and now, here for WordPress). It’s just after 10 at night –– and I started at about 9 this morning. Took a short break to go to the store for some food we needed.

As a freelance writer, independent contractor and self-employed business woman, I am always busy. I write six, sometimes seven days a week, depending on how my monthly earnings are growing. My goal, after earning badly needed money for several things I am working toward, is to cut down to 6 days a week, take Sunday off, then within the next year, reserve Saturday for my book, crafting, relaxing and friends.

My earnings fluctuate wildly, depending on several factors. These include the availability of titles within my areas of knowledge/expertise, and even some that are just a little beyond those areas. Another factor is technical glitches, such as site crashes or inability of the CEs to access waiting articles.

I was just invited to write for Local.com and WhiteFence, two new DMS publishers. WhiteFence articles are actually moving fairly quickly while Local.com articles are moving. Very. Slowly. It’s a new publisher, so the number of writers and CEs assigned there is still low. Everyone is still getting comfortable with the guidelines and expectations.

Earlier this year, I worked on the photo audit team at DMS. Earnings were fantastic. I earned my highest monthly total ever, whether self-employed or traditionally employed. I’m trying to get back into that, obviously.

I have been approached by a publishing company owner to edit some manuscripts that will be ready for copy editing in the next few months. It’s something completely new to me, but it’s another learning opportunity.

Google’s Panda and Panda 2 wreaked havoc on my Bright Hub page views and earnings. Pre-Panda and pre-Panda 2, I was moving up in page views every month. March was my highest month ever, with over 7,000 page views. Now? I’m lucky to get 2,500. I was following editorial direction in keywording. Everyone, whether writer, CE or company executive, learned from the drop in page views. Bright Hub has since completely revamped the writing process and channels. I am still in the Health channels, but those have been moved to an outside site. I’m writing for Education/Library/Books, Housecleaning/Crafts and Parenting as well.

Even there, Panda has exerted its effect: The crafts and books channels are now editorially managed. For my crafts articles, I have to take pictures of the craft I am making. It’s a moot point, actually. Panda has forced a reduction in the number of writing opportunities every month. Where I could claim 10 at a time from one channel, now I can claim two or three titles.

I am always looking for new clients. I’m signed up with WritersAccess and I have been applying for casting calls.

Why am I doing all of this? I am trying to find the kinds of opportunities that, while I will still be working hard, I’ll also be working smarter. Rather than $20 or $15 per title, I’m aiming for the $100 per article payments. Multiple articles per month.

Where does the relaxation, rest and hobbies come in? Where indeed? My goal is to stop the work writing every day between 6 and 7 p.m. Once I finish for the day, my plan is to spend an hour an evening writing my book.

After all of the writing (work and book) is done, the next part of my evening would be spent reading, watching a television program, then either crocheting or cross stitching. I have a scarf, sweater and blanket I need to finish or get started. It’s time to think of the Christmas gifts for my family (yes, in June. I make my gifts and I have a large family).

Freelancer put so much energy into getting their businesses off the ground, they forget about “me time.” A friend of mine finds this necessary. Her “me time” activities are reading, making and eating a chocolate shake or going for a walk with her husband.

Putting so many hours in the day into writing is good — up to a point. (I passed that point about 3 hours ago.) I know what my healthy balance is; I need to get it back again.

What I Do Offline to Recharge Myself

Suat Eman

Relax with a cup of steaming hot tea and your favorite pastime. Credit: Suat Eman

Let’s face it –– in today’s rush, rush workaday world, I use every resource I have, including time, mental, emotional, cognitive and physical. At the end of the day, I’m worn out and I need to recharge the batteries, so to speak.

As a freelance writer, yes, I work at home. I don’t have to worry about leaving my house on time every morning and fighting traffic to get to work. I’m able to structure my day as I need so I can take care of everything that needs to be done. Still. It’s all on me –– the earning, the decision-making, managing the business and my home. That’s a lot to be responsible for and it does use up all the resources I have available. That’s why I have several offline activities I indulge in so I can recharge myself.

My go-to activity is creating beauty. Because I create writing for my pay, which I love, this is a natural extension for me. My current non-writing creative outlets include crochet, cross stitch and, as I become more skilled at it, beading. I have a large box stored in my sunroom that is full of my crafting supplies. In addition, I have a storage box with a latching lid stuffed with balls of yarn and crochet hooks that don’t fit in my crochet hook wallet. Let’s not forget the plastic zipping bags that hold the “overflow” yarn. I have three projects in progress right now, with a fourth planned –– as soon as I finish the one I’m working on now.

The aforementioned box holds supplies for plastic canvas, two latch hook kits, cross stitch supplies and several cross stitch kits that I have owned for more years than I care to remember. I also have craft storage boxes filled with beads and beading thread. I haven’t bought any pliers yet because I’m not at the point where I can “graduate” to using beading wire, but I’ll get there –– some day.

I love beauty, regardless of whether it’s contained in words that weave a tale or in an item that I’ve made from my own two hands. For this reason, turning from word-crafting to crochet or cross stitch at the end of my work day is a natural progression. I’m currently crocheting a set of fingerless gloves for a friend on the East coast –– with the winter they’re experiencing, she’ll get really good use out of them. I started glove two just a couple of days ago and I’m already halfway through making it. I should be able to mail these gloves to her fairly soon; then I’ll start working on a late Christmas gift for another friend. We discussed her favorite colors and I have a couple of ideas to make something for her.

I have a crochet pattern for a short-sleeve sweater I want to make for myself. I’ve only been actively crocheting for five years, so this project will test my skills. I do have to wonder how relaxing that project will be. The other project is a “School Colors” afghan I’m making for my oldest son. He lives on the West coast, where the winters are wet and cold, so I’m thinking this afghan will help keep him warm after work and at night when he goes to bed. I originally conceived this afghan idea, using four yarn colors –– the two colors closest to our school colors of red and blue, plus two different shades (burgundy and windsor blue). I made the first blanket, using all four colors and gave that one to my youngest son. On really cold nights here, he uses that afghan. My older son asked for a blanket crocheted with the burgundy and windsor blue yarns. I threw an additional variation into his blanket –– I am crocheting it in color blocks, where the original blanket is stitched in wide stripes. Since this is my own pattern, I’m modifying it so each blanket is an original creation for both of my sons.

I really want to get back to the cross stitching and latch hook, not to mention my beading. Because I’m always able to find new patterns or develop new ideas for projects, I foresee many pleasurable evenings, recharging my batteries. When I sit on the couch with a cup of hot tea and a couple of cookies in front of me and I pick up on my crocheting, I can feel the tension leaving my body. Crochet, for me, is an activity where I’m able to focus my attention. As I crochet each stitch, I am fully focused on the yarn moving through my fingers, with the hook creating each stitch. The program on TV provides a sound accompaniment as I stitch, sip my tea and munch my cookies. By the end of the evening, I’m ready for a shower and bed.





Crochet and Health

Today’s blog is the first I’m writing as a part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Each day’s blog posting will cover a different topic, from crochet to daily events to health. A very good friend’s participation in this challenge has inspired me to link my blog to this challenge and post every day.

I decided I would talk today about one of my favorite activities –– crocheting. While I enjoy working from home, writing and setting my own working schedule, I still need to relax. When finances are tight, I become noticeably more tense and this expresses itself in neck, back and head pain, so I am making a conscious effort to crochet even a few rows on a project before I shut the lights out and go to bed.

That’s what crochet is for me –– a creative outlet that allows me to relax, both mentally and physically. We’ve all heard the advice from doctors and talk show pundits: learn to relax more and get at least eight hours of sleep a night. Sometimes, this is easier said than done, especially when money is slow to come in, but the bills are demanding to be paid, if not yesterday, then NOW!

I have two projects going right now. I’m making a “School Colors” afghan for my older son, who’s in the U.S. Army. Simple, but it’s a color block afghan and I have to change colors every few rows. I just started making fingerless gloves for another friend in another state — I like this project because it grows quickly.

I’m going to make a surprise for the friend that inspired me to participate in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. She has been so supportive, even while she and her husband were going through a rough time for most of last year.

Once I’ve finished my friends’ items, I’m going to start a summer sweater for myself. This will be the most difficult item I’ve ever attempted to make, so I’ve been repeatedly studying the instructions. I don’t know if this project will actually allow me to relax, but the finished product is beautiful. I just hope it’ll be cool enough to wear in the southwestern part of the U.S.! If not, I’ll wear it in the fall and spring months.

I’ve been crocheting for five years now. I had started as a teen, then put this craft aside for more years than I care to think about. Now that my sons are grown, I’m ready for some “me” creative time. It’s fun to relax on the couch, crocheting as my two cats  greedily follow the yarn’s movements. I get a good giggle out of that, but I do have to be careful to make sure their sharp claws don’t grab the yarn and snag it.

After I finish working this evening, I’ll be relaxing in a quiet house, making the first of a pair of warm fingerless gloves, thinking of my friends and the year stretching out in front of me.

 

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