Audra Rogers is back by popular demand after her previous post was such a hit. It’s no wonder – Audra is a hardworking mom and an up-and-coming freelance writer, which makes her very relatable to the Horkey HandBook audience.
Today she’s back to tell us how she makes it all work and keeps herself motivated in the process. In her words, “it takes planning, organization and staying away from the ‘comparison monster’.”
Tell us your secrets, Audra!
There’s a bouncy ball stuck in my bathroom sink right now, and there’s a small piece of cheese mashed into the carpet. I am sitting here with a coffee, listening to the hum of the dryer as it finishes up the last of the two loads of laundry I had to do this morning after my toddler got sick several times in the wee hours of the night.
Being a parent with a dream isn’t easy.
I wouldn’t trade my job as a mom for anything in the world. But as I’ve tried to get a writing career off the ground while raising a family, my emotions have run the gamut from, Why am I even bothering right now? and When is it ever going to be my time? to Man, I can really crush this! and then thinking Maybe I should just wait until the kids are grown…
It’s easy to feel like you’re being left behind when you’re always in stop-and-start mode, especially when you see others find success.
“But envy doesn’t pay the bills, perseverance does.”
I had to sit down and figure out how I was going to find time to make a writing career happen. When would I write? How would I learn and grow? Can I work at home and still make sure the kids don’t burn down the house at the same time?
Well, if you try to work from home without childcare, the kids will burn the house down. On days when that seems like a possibility, work itself seems impossible.
So on those days when I’m not able to get a lot of writing done, I look for ways to still feel like I’m making steps toward a freelance writing career without neglecting my family. Here are six strategies that help me stay motivated as I juggle freelancing and parenting.
1. Do One Thing Every Day Towards Your Hustle
Do one thing every single day, big or small.
My accomplishments are usually small. I really enjoy listening to entrepreneurial podcasts while I’m making dinner or folding laundry. My favorite podcasts at the moment are on the Beyond Your Blog site. Each episode is an interview with an editor from a large publication that shares how to get published on their respective sites. Beyond Your Blog also has mega-lists of sites that pay writers in different niches.
I also follow a lot of Facebook pages for freelance writing, pages for publications I write for and those I want to write for. I rarely have time during the day to sit and really concentrate on all of the articles I want to read, so I choose the “save link” option that is now available for any article on Facebook (found in the upper right drop down menu of the article itself).
This way I have a great reading list of productive stuff when I have quiet time. Saved articles are located under “Favorites” next to the bookmark icon marked “Saved.”
2. Work in the Margins of the Day
I sat down and figured out the short bursts of time in my day that I could use to write or learn something. For me, that’s an hour and a half in the morning before the kids get up, a two-hour block of time in the afternoon when my toddler takes a nap, and two or three hours after the kids go to bed at 9 PM.
I have now worked up to the point that I am able to invest in a preschool for my toddler two days a week for five hours to give me extra freelancing breathing room. I really hit it hard on those days. Believe me, the time flies very quickly and I fit as much writing in it as I can. Despite having this time, I don’t always get to use it for writing, because life happens.
So I stay mindful of the margins and I still use them.
3. Keep Organized and Track What You’ve Done
I keep a few spreadsheets on my desktop. One details every single pitch I’ve ever sent, who I sent it to and when, so I know when to circle back and follow up, or when to try another site.
I also keep a spreadsheet called, “The Yay File.” As in yay, this is the stuff that was accepted! When I’m feeling discouraged, I like to be able to go back and see what I have accomplished. It is a good snapshot of the big picture and it helps keep me on track when I feel like I’m not getting a lot of work done.
(Note: Gina keeps a praise file, which is similar, but geared towards when people say nice things about her or her business. It doubles as a feel good source of encouragement and place to pull testimonials from.)
4. Stay Away from the ‘Comparison Monster’
The comparison monster bites. Do not feed that beast.
Someone may be absolutely killing it, but you often have no idea what is going on behind the scenes. Maybe they’re staying up all night and really hustling and hitting it hard, so they deserve to find success.
Remember, every single person was new at one point, and they were probably once in your shoes. Seeing their efforts come to fruition can only be an encouragement and fuel for you to know that you can do it too.
5. Do. Not. Stop.
I remember feeling so down in the dumps and discouraged in the beginning.
I felt like my progress was as slow as molasses. It’s painful to want something so badly and have to wait for it. But stick with the freelancing dream. As you gain traction little by little, it will light you up from the inside.
My success has definitely come about from a really slow burn, but boy is it feeling hot now!
6. Invite Your Kids Into Your Dream
This is huge. Let them see what you’re doing. Tell them what you are doing; talk about what your dream is. They will help you celebrate wins. This is my favorite conversation in the house with my young sons right now:
Me: Yay, mommy!!!! (yes, I celebrate out loud in front of them).
The kids: Let me guess Mommy, you got another article accepted!
And we all clap and cheer.
I am still giddy every single time I am published. I include them in my celebration because I like them to cheer me on, and I think it sets a wonderful scene for their future career choices.
As we speak, I am writing a few feet away from a feverish, sleeping toddler. One of my big writing days was cut short so I could be here to take care of him. But I don’t dare complain because home is exactly where I wanted to be in the first place.
Hang in there parents, you can do one small thing now. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Slow and steady wins the race!
And please excuse me, the buzzer on the dryer just went off.
Audra Rogers is a freelance writer in the niche of parenting and relationships. She’s been featured on The Huffington Post, Babble, BlogHer, Scary Mommy and Moms Magazine. Audra’s home on the internet is Real Honest Mom where she shares about her personal experiences in parenting, personal finance and DIY with honesty and humor.
For all the parentpreneurs out there, how do you juggle parenting and growing your freelancing business?
Photo credit: Annie Spratt via Unsplash