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  • Writer's pictureMariaan Smit

Thriving, Not Just Surviving: Mastering the Art of Freelance Downtime

One of the hardest parts of being a freelancer is dealing with the anxiety that creeps in when a project is done. At first, the celebrations feel good. You've reached your goal and put a smile on your client’s face – what more could you want?

As a ghostwriter, simply completing a novel is fulfilling, but ultimately, we also do the work to get the dollars. If you're new and just starting out, it's unlikely that you'll have a steady stream of potential book projects waiting.

In this blog post, I'll discuss how I manage 'downtime' anxiety and stay in a steady writing flow until I secure my next project.

Rest and Recuperate - This is probably something you hear so much that you've lost trust in its power. I get it! Sometimes, I'm so fired up with passion, I don't want to rest; I want to keep writing. It's important to close off the last chapter of a project with rest before moving on to your next book. The brain needs time to settle the score, to shut down the past so the future can take flight. You can keep the door open for new projects, but don’t waste time stressing about how much time is passing before landing your next gig. While waiting for my creative energy to recharge, I enjoy staying engaged in activities I love, aside from searching for new book projects to obsess about. Don't waste time stressing about things you can't control.

Keep the Channel Open - Don’t disappear off the face of the earth. Market your skills in a way that suits you. For instance, writing a blog to keep yourself motivated 😉.

Writing daily, especially when it's for fun, also proves helpful. Even if it’s just journaling or writing a caption for a social media post. Be active on social media: share your content, engage with others' posts, and participate in relevant groups or discussions. This increases your visibility and can attract potential clients. If your goal is to be a writer, you need to write. Staying in the flow of writing will open more doors than you could ever imagine. I like to use this free time of the in between to write passion projects and keep my skills sharp.

Freshen Up Your Skills - Doing a short course can help keep the motivation alive. Lucky for us in the digital age, there are tons of free choices online. This downtime is perfect for learning new skills or sharpening existing ones. Whether it's mastering a new digital marketing technique, adopting a trending tool for ghostwriting, or exploring an unfamiliar online platform, expanding your skill set enhances your marketability for future projects.

Give Your Portfolio a Makeover - Like updating your CV, refreshing your portfolio of writing samples after completing new projects is a very useful practice. Add recent projects, refine descriptions, and make sure it reflects your current skills and specialties. A polished portfolio is crucial in attracting new clients.

Explore Collaborative Opportunities - Reach out to fellow freelancers for potential collaboration. This can range from co-authoring a blog post to working on a joint project that complements both your skills. Collaboration not only opens new avenues for work but also for learning and networking. If collaborating scares you like it does me, you can always just reach out to fellow creators and chat. Sometimes, simply having conversations with others in a similar situation can alleviate a lot of unnecessary anxiety.

Reflect and Strategize - Use this time to reflect on your freelance journey so far. What worked well? What could be improved? Strategize your approach for future projects. Maybe there's a niche you haven't tapped into yet, or a marketing strategy you've not explored.

Stay Informed and Inspired - Keep up with the latest trends in your industry. Read articles, follow influencers, and join webinars. Inspiration can come from the most unexpected places and can give you fresh ideas for your work.

Remember, in the world of freelancing, every phase – busy or slow – has its purpose. Use this time wisely, and it can be a period of growth both personally and professionally. Keep your spirits up, and like Julia Samuel used to say: This too shall pass.



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