No Holidays For The Writer?

by Catherine L. Tully

Freelance-Zone Editor, Catherine L. Tully
Freelance-Zone Editor, Catherine L. Tully

What do I want for Christmas?

A day off would be really nice.

If you are a freelance writer you already are aware that this is no 9 to 5 job. But the problem doesn’t end there…

You see, it isn’t that I can’t manage my workload. I can–and do it pretty well. I even have free time. But when you work for yourself, you tend to be thinking all the time about what is around the bend. Do you find yourself doing that? I bet most of you do.

When I have time off, I often find myself thinking about what my next blog post will be, or how I should spend some time on Twitter connecting with people. It’s hard to get away from it completely. Goodness knows I do try. Part of what makes me a good freelancer also makes it nearly impossible to shut off the brain when it comes to work.

But…it can be done. And–I’d like to argue that it should be done. The next question is how to do it…


Yes–really–practice. You have to force yourself to be off when you are off. If you are taking a holiday, discipline yourself not to even turn on your computer. If thoughts of work drift into your head, just let them drift right back out again. Keep doing that. It will get better.

Other things that help:

  • Working ahead. If you simply take the day off and don’t allocate your workload accordingly, you’ll probably keep thinking about it. And you’ll have a lot to do afterward as well–which doesn’t set you up for a relaxed time next time you take a day off.
  • Doing it regularly. Sundays I try and take part of the day completely off from work. Practicing not thinking about work one day a week has made me a lot better at it.
  • Keeping at it. If you don’t make it through the first time, start over the next holiday.

Do you have any good tips to share?