When I had a baby last April, I was worried my freelance writing career would take a hit.
But since having my son, I’ve been published in two of my dream publications and even landed a copywriting gig for a national chain!
In many ways, being a mom has made me a much better freelancer. Here are five things I’ve learned about my freelancing career in the past five months.
1. I’ve become an expert on time management
I have two daily nap times during which to get things done. They can last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, which means as soon as the pacifier’s in his mouth and the sound machine is on, it’s go time!
Procrastination isn’t an option — if I spend even a few minutes poking around Pinterest, a third of my work time could be gone.
I also find time in the “fringe hours” to get personal development done: I’ll listen to inspiring podcasts, like Smart Passive Income or Being Boss, while in the car, or read books on entrepreneurship while breastfeeding.
2. I know how to prioritize
When you’re so short on time, you need to think about the long-term picture.
Being a busy mom has helped me to feel confident in raising my prices, because I just don’t have time for projects without a payoff. I also need to pitch projects that don’t require a ton of outside research or interviews, since I have a baby who might start suddenly crying. It’s helped me laser-focus my dream clients and go after them with intention.
Being a mom has also encouraged me to focus on more copywriting and content marketing because the pay is much steadier.
Do I miss the fast pace of freelance journalism? Sure, but I can still pick up those projects on lighter weeks.
3. The ideas are endless
Kids are full of imagination, and they make you see things in such a different way.
My son is fascinated by silly things like the ABCs or his stuffed frog. He also has literally no social filter, meaning he’ll just stare at someone for an hour if he thinks they look interesting.
He helps me slow down and think about the world in a different light.
4. I know things don’t need to be “perfect”
The perfect, Instagram-ready office with a white desk, flawless manicure and hot coffee? Ha!
Most of the time, I’m working from my husband’s cluttered desk while listening for the baby monitor. There’s often drool on my shirt, a stuffed animal at my feet, and a baby’s sound machine playing in the background. When you have so much going on around you, you can’t depend on your muse or just decide you don’t feel creative that day. You need to power through and get things written.
And if you’re not waiting for your setting or mood to be perfect, you can get a lot more done. I definitely don’t need the perfect set-up or atmosphere to get work done; I now feel like I can work anywhere at any time!
Since having my son, I try to limit the amount of time I’m on social media around him. I don’t want him to think my iPhone is his little brother.
Less time scrolling through my Instagram feed means less time comparing myself to other writers, being overwhelmed by an excess of media, and feeling the constant need to “hustle.”
That means I’m in a way better headspace when it’s time to sit down and write.
Overall, being a mom has helped my freelance career thrive. I feel inspired, driven and further in my career than I ever have been. So although I might spend most of my day singing Disney songs and playing “Patty Cake,” I’m happy I can continue my craft and still be a successful freelancer.
New parents, how have you balanced freelance writing and getting accustomed to your new role?