Last November (2010), I hopped in my car and took off for Charlottesville, VA, to see Dave Matthews Band perform their last show of the 2010 tour schedule.
At the time, the band had already announced they wouldn’t be touring during 2011 (unless you count the Caravan they randomly sprung on us), and even though I’d already seen them twice that summer, it only made sense to cram in one last show before the God-Only-Knows-How-Long Break.
So I did.
I didn’t look at the days of the dates – I didn’t know whether it was in the middle of the week or on a Saturday night – I just ordered the tickets, booked a room (which was much more difficult than it sounds), and curled up like a fat cat.
Let’s get one thing clear: I don’t want this story to sound reckless. I am not reckless with my freelance writing career. I’ve worked too hard for that. I knew there would be preparations to make, and I knew I kept my ducks in such a row that I could fairly easily make those preparations.
However, I’m not reckless with my life, either. If I want to see DMB, damn it, I’m going to. God didn’t put me here to stare at a computer screen all day.
The day after the show, I took a detour and visited Dave Matthews’ vineyard, Blenheim Vineyards. I’d never been, and I couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful autumn day for it – as the picture above will attest.
The point to this little trip down memory lane? I probably couldn’t have planned and taken this impromptu trip had it not been for my freelance writing career.
So, without further ado, 11 Reasons I’m Thankful I’m A Freelance Writer:
- I can almost always take time off whenever I want or need to. As the story above illustrated. Sure, there are plan and preparations to be made, maybe a little overtime on a few nights leading up to the time off – but if you run your freelance writing career in an organized and efficient manner, you can almost always take off whenever the urge hits you.
- The commute is unbeatable. The longest distance is probably from the coffee pot to the computer. Maybe 50 feet, on foot. I think of it as my morning contribution to Mother Earth.
- There’s an amazing amount of flexibility with this gig. It might sound a little silly at first, but I know from firsthand experience (I’ve worked traditional 9-5 jobs) things like scheduling dentist appointments, figuring out whether you can take off for a kid’s school play, or making it to the bank before it closes can freaking stress you out. As a freelance writer, though, I pretty much already know I can make all of these things, as long as I properly plan my schedule and workload beforehand.
- I can choose my own workload. It’s a rare day when a client dumps a load of crap on me. Know why? Because he’s a client, and not a boss. And, because he’s a client, We’ve worked out the details before starting the project, so handing me a file at 4:55 p.m. on a Friday evening and asking me to “take a look” before closing time doesn’t happen. I can also choose how many clients, or how few, I want to take on based on nothing more than how much time I have to give and how much money I want to make.
- Wherever I go, I can take my work with me – if necessary. Invest in a laptop and a cell phone, and you can, too.
- Sleeping in is almost always an option. Look, I’m not saying you can sleep half the day away and then wake up at 3 p.m. and expect to make a decent go of it. I am saying that, as long as you’ve planned your workload and schedule properly, there are days when you can hit the snooze button a few extra times and not catch hell – or get fired – for it.
- There’s a warm and inviting community out there. Fortunately, I’ve connected with many other freelance writers and editors via Facebook, Twitter, and other on- and offline venues. Some are acquaintances; others have become friends. We’ve learned from each other, shared gigs with each other, and even fostered beneficial connections for each other.
- Rarely have I ever worried about having to work during a holiday. Honestly, I’ve never worked during a holiday unless it was my own choice. I’ve never even encountered a client who expected me to work during a holiday – whether he was a small business owner looking for content marketing or a big-name Web development firm looking for pages upon pages of research and copy.
- I’m doing what I love. I might scream and cry and stomp my feet from time to time, but – for me – there is no job worth having if it doesn’t involve some kind of writing.
- I’m always growing and learning. And these are both related and unrelated to writing.
- I still get to explore other passions. Writing is a huge part of my life, but it’s not the only part. I have other passions, like music, animal rights, and mental health advocacy. As a freelance writer, I’ve been able to research and write about each one of those topics.
If you’re currently working as a freelance writer, share some of the reasons you’re thankful for your career. If you haven’t yet started but want a career as a freelance writer, share some of the “perks” you hope to achieve!