Freedom to Write on the RoadIf there is one giant benefit to freelance writing, especially when the majority of my work is done online (and nearly 40% of my income is passive) is that when it's time to take a vacation...or just wander off for a while, that's exactly what I can do. There is no office I have to be at, no location where I "must" be to do my job. Have Wi-Fi, get paid for working. So over the past year I've been back in Cedar Rapids, Iowa building my business, taking care of personal matters, and trying to clean house and figure out what's next for me.
Part one is part doctor's orders and part just long overdue. After a very stressful year and too much working in 2010, (not to mention serious wanderlust that hasn't been seriously fed in 2 years) there's no question that it's time for a good vacay, and there is little that relaxes me more than traveling. So I'm going on a vacation, also a "work vacation" for the rest of the year.
Next week I'll be taking the train east to visit one of my best friends in North Carolina, who is fulfilling his life dream of going to college at the age of 30 - a life dream that was delayed by a hard life. After hanging out for a week, it's a road trip to Tampa, Florida where he can visit his family for Thanksgiving, and I can visit my Dad for Thanksgiving. A week after that I'm flying for my return trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, where I'll be meeting some of my best friends from Alaska who I haven't seen in years.
After that, a week in Austin to see some of my old friends and scout out apartments for a return next year and a nice train ride home with a few days in St. Louis before getting back to Iowa in time for Christmas.
How can I do this? Because as a freelance writer all I need is Wi-Fi, whether it's Asheville North Carolina, Tampa Florida, Las Vegas Nevada, Austin Texas, St. Louis Missouri, or back to Cedar Rapids Iowa. I've worked my butt off the past six weeks to pay off the bills, set myself up to be able to coast out the year and take this vacation with minimal work.
Now I'm not 100% passive income, and that passive income level isn't where it needs to be so I can "not work," but I'll be enjoying life a lot more than most people stuck in a career. Every Friday for the next five to six weeks I need to work 4 hours a day in the morning. Otherwise, it looks like 6-8 hours a week will be more than enough to handle expenses, give me a decent bit of spending money and cover all the bills. For me, visiting some of my favorite cities and some new places altogether is going to recharge me in incredible ways, with or without work.
The freedom of a freelance writing lifestyle is what allows me to end a year like this, and while I'm on break no worrying about saving up for bills, no worrying about getting extra work, and no worrying about building passive income or writing my next e-book. I'm going to do the minimum work to finish out 2010 and recharge my batteries to be prepared to go full force in 2011.
This also serves the important function of reminding me not to pigeonhole myself, because being a freelance writer offers freedoms and an openness to planning life that gives me the opportunity to do amazing things and enjoy an amazing life - as long as I don't let old habits or practices get in the way and change my thinking to make a freelance lifestyle just another job.
Not everyone is going to have the same goals or desires that I do. I love travel. ALWAYS have. For other people that's not the goal, but simply having the ability to move around, to work in different places, and to have that control over your life is a huge relief and maybe the biggest benefit of being a freelance writer.
Being at my breaking point, having the ability now to travel, to spend a week at five different places (most I love, one I haven't ever visited) and to only have to work a grand total of 10-12 hours a week at the most to do it is huge for me. For those of you who are more motivated by the possibility of living out your dreams as opposed to written goals to achieve (i.e. earning enough to take a 6 week work vacation as opposed to a goal of 'write 100 articles' and then doing it), take the time to really look at what you love out of life and use that as motivation. I find it easier to have at least one or two reminders of things I have done and want to do again - this is easier for me to imagine as opposed to going somewhere I've never been or doing something I've never done.
This doesn't mean I don't have to work for a break - I've pushed myself pretty hard the past few weeks, but now I get to enjoy the pay out, and while this shouldn't be the last freelance writing blog post before 2011, I'm not sure if I'll be posting over my break. Basically if I feel like it I will, and if I don't then I won't. That's the beauty of a freelance writing vacation, as well - I get to choose my schedule.
So I hope everyone is doing well, keep up your writing goals, and if you're finding a hard time getting motivation then think of the things you want or the ideal lifestyle you could enjoy from making a full time living as a freelance writer. Spend some time reflecting on these goals or ideals, then map out the first steps you can take to get there.
So take care, and for now I'm outta' here!