Part Four: The Importance of Logging Off

If you can, take the path of least resistance

Quite clearly, being a freelancer sucks right now. If you’re new to the game, I’m sorry. This is possibly one of the hardest times to get into writing or journalism.

My days have all blurred into one. And even though I’ve been sending an average of three pitches a day, nothing is landing. Freelance budgets have been cut and I don’t know whether to give up at this point. I keep seeing others get commissions and can’t help but feel like I’m doing something wrong or not playing “the game” right.

I know the correct thing to say to myself is: “Keep going, just try harder.” But is it? Or is that just a waste of time? Should I just stop writing for a while and pick something new up? Should I accept the fact I won’t get work in the near future and do loads of reading instead? Hand on heart, I don’t know the right answer.

I’d love to hear from you though, how have you been finding it? Do you have any useful tips to share?

Leave a comment

Welcome to The Freelance Fraud, the newsletter where I write about my personal and professional struggles as a freelancer with actual, practical advice. Subscribe if you haven’t already!

In today’s edition I want to talk about the importance of logging off, especially during a time like now.

A few weeks ago the work anxiety came back. The feeling of not doing enough lingering on a daily basis, only temporarily subsiding over the weekends. Everything I saw/read/heard went through an “is it content” filter in my brain. I was consuming so much information. It was exhausting.

I realised I was racking up 14+ hours of screen time on my devices each day so I staged an intervention with myself. Enough. I needed to get off the computer and form a life outside of work, because when a pandemic strikes and work dries up who even are you? Who are you without the bylines? Does your worth correlate to the amount of work you do?

Shutting a laptop may feel cathartic, but it’s not a sustainable, long-term plan. Most people can’t just “stop working” because they have bills to pay. So I guess the key is try get the balance right. Right?

I said to myself: “Check your emails in the morning, give yourself an hour to read the news, send your pitches and then close your laptop. You can periodically check your emails but have to stop at 5pm.”

Now, how do you build a life outside of work when you can’t see friends or family? Zoom calls can only do so much.

I drew a mind map of all the FUN things I’ve been depriving myself of. Allowing myself to watch films, read and go on endless walks. I started teaching myself to DJ, going on e-dates and have been cooking, running, drawing, visiting virtual art exhibitions on Instagram live and binging on obscure Netflix documentaries. It’s been nice. I’m sleeping better and my mood is not dipping below a solid 5/10.

Life is for living. We may not be able to go out and get trashed with friends at a festival or have a lovely family BBQ function, but that doesn’t mean you should deprive yourself of joy. Yes. Everything is shit. But you already know that. Do you really have to keep reminding yourself? These things are out of your control. So enjoy your life while you can. You only get one of those!

Work will come around again and believe me, no one will scrutinise you for not being your most productive or doing enough work during a pandemic. Do the bare minimum, log off and take the path of least resistance.

Things I really loved this week:

Resources you need in your life right now:

The Sian Meades newsletter for UK only jobs.

Study Hall - “A media newsletter & online support network for media workers.”

Sonia Weiser’s Opportunities of The Week

The Freelance Sessions newsletter

Do you know any more? Send me a message.

Leave a comment

I hope you enjoyed this week’s newsletter! Do you have any tips or advice on how you’re keeping your cool under quarantine? Have you got a cute WFH set up? Email me and send pics!

Stay safe out there and look after yourself,

Diyora x