3 Ways to Overcome the Insanity and Regain Your Drive

One of the best (and worst) things about being a freelance writer is that our schedules are our own. It's wonderful when we get to choose when to work. It's not so wonderful when we realize how easy it is to sometimes get sucked into distractions. Those distractions can be complete sanity-slayers when they start to interfere either with our work itself or simply our motivation to get it done.

Today let's talk about several simple things you can do to regain your sanity and drive when you start to feel a bit flustered with your otherwise-incredible freelance writing life. Here are a few things I'd personally suggest trying. I hope you'll leave some of your own tips to help other writers out in the comments below.

1. Leave the social media space behind.

Uh oh. I said it. Social media is not always a boon to your business. It can be one of the biggest distractions out there when you're working on your computer all day. So take a day off every now and then. I'm doing it today actually. No Twitter. No social networks. No forums. No commenting. No blogging (this blog post was actually written the night before and simply scheduled to post today).

As much as our egos might like to think otherwise, no one's world is going to end if you disappear from SM-land for a day. If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed give it a try. You might be surprised by how much real work you get done (for clients, on your e-book or book, on your other marketing efforts, etc.). You also might be surprised by how refreshed a quick break can leave you feeling.

2. Reschedule your schedule.

Another reason you might be feeling a bit out of sorts with your work is that things are feeling kind of monotonous. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with keeping a regular schedule, there's also nothing wrong with changing things up every once in a while.

If you're feeling overcome by brain fog lately work a different shift. If you're normally an early riser, work at night. If you're normally a night owl, get up early (you can do it!). Your mind can almost feel like it's in completely different modes at different times of the day. Maybe that project you're working on would be better suited for a fresh mind in the morning. Or maybe it would turn out better if you worked on it when more relaxed in the evening. Try it once. If it doesn't work for you it's just as easy to go back.

3. Take a nap.

I'm a huge advocate of cat naps for freelance writers. Here's why:

  • You get that "refreshed" feeling all over again (two nice alert and well-rested periods to work instead of just one in the morning).
  • Whatever has you frustrated or flustered just doesn't matter when you're tucked up nicely in comfy blankets (you know it's true).
  • Sometimes a quick nap, and corresponding dream if you're lucky, will be just what you need to light that creative spark and give you a new idea about a project you're working on.
  • Those comfy blankets do feel really good....

I wish I had the ability to make myself take a nap every single day for about an hour. I don't have the luxury of falling asleep easily though, so mine are a bit more sporadic. But when I do nap, I tend to get more done.

Don't have time for a nap? Just lie down or throw your head back and close your eyes for 15 or 20 minutes. You could even use that time to do some deep breathing exercises if you're into that (I am). It might not be the same, but it could be just enough to recharge your batteries. Give it a go!

How do you like to let go of the insanity of the everyday freelance life?

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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5 thoughts on “3 Ways to Overcome the Insanity and Regain Your Drive”

  1. My thing for getting away from that insanity is to go for a walk or a bike ride. This time of year it’s usually the walk that wins… but either way I get some exercise and some fresh air, and I always return to my desk feeling much better than when I left it!

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  2. I try to keep my schedule paired down to the bare essentials to prevent overwhelm. Taking cleansing breaks is great, but when you’ve got a handle on your workload, it helps as well.

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  3. My biggest motivator is to keep going but forget my schedule and jump to whatever it is that’s recently put ants in my pants and work on it. I shower in epiphanies because I give myself the relief, get my subconscious ready to go. These tips you provided, particularly the SM tip, are tucked into my arsenal now.

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  4. Naps make me happy, haha. I get some of my best ideas when I’m asleep and they’re great for winding down so you can focus more.

    As far as schedules go…I believe you should have a plan, but finding a block of time in the day where everything goes accordingly is almost impossible.

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  5. Walks are definitely a good way to clear the head a bit (especially when the weather’s nice and the leaves are changing). 🙂

    When it comes to scheduling, the more structured mine is (like mapping out every half hour block), the more it seems to go as planned (and the more I get done!). But as much as I love my schedules and to-do lists sometimes you just can’t work that way.

    And the SM-free day tip is one I wholeheartedly recommend. I got so much more done yesterday than expected and didn’t get sucked into the drama and neediness of it all. Loved it. Still mostly staying away from forums and social networks til Monday, but I’m letting myself get back to blogs a bit and check in on Twitter today.

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