Freelance Diary: Learning to Find Balance
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Freelance Diary: Learning to Find Balance

IN THIS FIRST OF THE FREELANCE DIARY SERIES, CARRIE WALLER SHARES HER EXPERIENCE, CHALLENGES, AND NEW GOALS AFTER ONE YEAR WORKING FOR HERSELF.

Here's how it goes: I read through new emails, catch up on social media (Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Facebook, repeat), brush up on news headlines via The Skimm, reply to emergency editorial situations, edit yesterday's photos, and then stretch. This is how I start my day every single morning (whether it's a weekday or weekend)—and it's all done from my bed.

Is this the ideal way to live my life, shackled to my phone and responding to alerts even before my eyes have adjusted to the morning light? Probably not. But as a freelance writer, blogger, and editor, I wear more than a few hats and it all comes down to me. Everything.

As a freelance writer, blogger, and editor, I wear more than a few hats and it all comes down to me.

That has definitely been the hardest thing for me to digest since taking the leap into full-time freelance work in September of 2014. Sure, I knew that it would be a struggle, but honestly, the things that I thought would cause the most struggle actually don't.

Money has miraculously not been a problem and I am making a decent enough salary to support my family and the occasional thrift store or estate sale splurge. Even keeping up with said finances (i.e., taxes, invoicing, etc.) has been easily manageable thanks to my natural obsession for order and cleanliness.

The hardest parts have actually been creatively-driven—things like the dreaded comparison game (which has left me in tears on more than one occasion), my inability to say no to every project that comes through my email inbox, and creating a routine at home to keep myself motivated and on task.

Would I change my decision to "go freelance" last summer if I could? Not a chance. Do I have things to work on refining in the summer ahead? You bet I do! This season, it's all about working to streamline my work flow and tapping into the orderly parts of my personality in the hopes that my sense of practicality can rub off on my wild and carefree creativity. {Click to Tweet}

It's all about working to streamline my work flow and tapping into the orderly parts of my personality in the hopes that my sense of practicality can rub off on my wild and carefree creativity.

My summer 2015 goals leading up the that Holy Grail of a one-year anniversary are as follows:

Related: How to Find a Job That Lets You Work Remotely

LEARN TO BALANCE WORK WITH FRIENDSHIPS

My social outings have suffered quite a bit—really, they have stopped altogether—since I tossed my 3,000-ton freelance career onto my shoulders. But I also have never shied away from listening to my intuition, and don't mind announcing to the world (and my friends) that I'm in a season of life when "girls nights" just can't be a top priority. Yet I know I need to get to a healthy point where they are. {Click to Tweet} I hope my heart catches up to my head on this one soon

TAKE CARE OF MY HEALTH

Speaking of healthy living, I probably shouldn't have chowed down on that handful of Nilla Wafers just now. With my go-go-go schedule, I rarely have more than five to 10 minutes available for lunch and snack breaks, so these are typically filled with meals like Kraft Mac & Cheese or a handful of potato chips—anything at all that I can literally grab and go on the way back to my computer. It's time to make exercise a priority and to be more thoughtful about my eating habits.

Related: How to Avoid Stress-Eating and Fuel Your Body Right

FIND MY INNER WHITE SPACE

The idea of meditation and emptying my mind of all thought and electrified creative energy sounds blissful as I sit here furiously typing on my computer to meet a deadline with about 12 others nosing their way in from the other side. I'd love to spend 10 minutes (or more) every day in a state of nothingness, in the hopes that I can find some small square footage of peace in my mind.

The idea of meditation and emptying my mind of all thought and electrified creative energy sounds blissful as I sit here furiously typing on my computer.

The only problem with these happy-go-lucky ideas is that the addition of any one of them to my daily routine is bound to take away from other areas of my schedule. It's difficult for me to imagine being able to placate my neglected friends, invest in my health, and develop my mind without taking away from my work. As they say, there truly aren't enough hours in the day, and unless I want to start waking up at 5:00 a.m., there's no way I can do it all.

I guess I need to add another bullet item to that list: learn to surrender to my early morning alarm as opposed to the mid-morning sun. {Click to Tweet} I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

If you have any suggestions for how to battle down the negativity to let in some much-needed positivity, I'm all ears!