Working for Myself: Day One

Today marked the first day of working for myself as a freelance writer and editor.  Some sage advice from freelance writer Rita Flórez and my husband Brendan Hay (who wrote from home for a few months) got me started in the right direction.  Rita told me to keep work hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to give myself a work routine.  She suggested waking up at my previous job schedule and following the same routines.  Brendan told me to give myself some time to adjust and realize that when you work for yourself, you could always be working at every hour, but to find the right working times for myself.  He also warned me that I might beat myself up for not getting everything done in one day but to relax and realize that it will get done.

My first day was great.  I interviewed photographer Dawn Shields for Rangefinder’s May 2010 issue about her amazing album titled “Legacy” that won a WPPI 2010 Grand Award in Album.  Her story is truly amazing. Culling down her story to under 2,000 words is my challenge.

Following my friends’ advice, I got up around 7:15 a.m. (which pales in comparison to my 5:40 a.m. wake up time to get on the 405 from the Valley to Culver City) and went to the gym and started my work day at 9 a.m.  I answered emails, interviewed Dawn, wrote out an extensive to-do list, and gave myself one hour for lunch.  The positives so far: no more hour-long commutes, working on what I want to do, and seeing a hawk fly by home office window (thank you, beautiful nature of Marin County). The only downside I foresee—tearing myself away from my Mac laptop to stop working!  I think the workaholic in me needs to walk away from my computer now.

Thanks Rita and Brendan!  Follow them on Twitter at rdotflorez and B_Hay.

13 Comments on “Working for Myself: Day One

  1. Great entry and glad that day one went so well! My one other tip: get showered and get dressed every day. It’ll be tempting to stay in your pjs, but you’re more likely to dive into work if you treat it like work.

  2. I agree with Mr. Hay. Treat it like work and you’ll make it work. The only time I allow myself to wear pajamas while on the clock is during conference calls with really respectable clients. It accentuates the absurdity of my job in the most delightful way. Recently I took criticism for an Oakley ad campaign in my birthday suit. The draft in our apartment kept my spirits up.

    Also, stop working at five. Otherwise, you’ll never stop. And that’s not good. Work stress blends into home life and the next thing you know, you’re slapping your child because of some email you forgot to respond to from a difficult client.

  3. Awesome! I think keeping a blog will really help you see all that you accomplish day to day and will help serve as a serious motivator and guide for those who work from home or want to work from home!

    • Great suggestion! This blog will keep me honest and humble. And I hope that it helps other writers or freelancers on their work/life balance as I learn my own.

  4. Ha! I loved this post, and I definitely agree with BHay on the getting showered and dressed part. It definitely sets a tone when you do and when you don’t. It’s funny that you mention the to do list. I still struggle with filling pages of lists, not getting a fraction done and then feeling bad for days. What’s worse, is that it slows me down completely. Alina is right, too! Keep it up for yourself and your readers. Good work!

    • Thanks so much Rita for getting me ready for the transition! Our convos definitely helped me. And don’t feel bad. You’re clearly working hard.

  5. Good for you Jenn! The first day of work sounds like it was wonderful. I’d love to be able to get there myself one day. I think the breaks for lunch and the early morning gym are a good way to keep yourself from over-working yourself. Well done 🙂

    • Thanks Julia! Though I’m finding myself addicted to checking email and responding to people right away. And you’ll get yourself there someday too!

  6. You can do it JC! And the good thing is that you can use Buddy as an excuse to tear yourself away from the computer. That’s his “gym” time!

    • Thanks Arlene! I know you’ll be cheering me on. And you would be proud to know that we weighed Buddy today and he has lost 8 lbs. since we got him at the end of January!

  7. Great first day, Jenn! Enjoy and keep up the good work! You’ve found your passion-make it happen!

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