The media has painted the writer’s life as a solitary one. We’re reclusive. We’re loners. We’re… you know. But let’s forget the clichés. This is 2016. Being a freelancer doesn't have to be such a solitary and lonely pursuit. There are countless resources out there to help you survive and thrive while living the freelancing life.
As a Philadelphia-based freelancer, I personally look to this list for the inspirational nudge I need. It’s easy to get lost in your work; that’s why it’s so important to get outside of the house and move past the local coffee shop when you’re craving human interaction. (Even though coffee shops are a total necessity, I promise you.)
Here are eight things you can do to make freelancing a less solitary act:
FREELANCE TIP 1: Phone Chats
A weekly chat on the phone with a fellow writer can help to relieve the freelance blues. Schedule a short 10 to 30-minute phone chat into your weekly writing schedule. If you want to maximize efficiency, you can structure these weekly calls around a topic. For example, talk about what you have learned from dealing with your clients that week, or trade freelancing tips and tricks.
A phone chat is a simple way to mix up the mundane and find inspiration from another entrepreneur. Who knows? Maybe you’ll come up with a great idea for a blog topic or two!
FREELANCE TIP 2: Accountability Calls
Accountability phone calls with other freelancers or writer friends can really help you stay on track. You can use the phone chats I already mentioned as an opportunity to check in on the goals you establish.
We all have goals, but having someone to check in with can give us that extra push we need to achieve them on time. Are you trying to find new clients? Are you trying to attend more networking events? If so, you should set measurable short term and long term goals and have a friend you can call to keep you accountable.
Check in on each other’s progress and keep each other company before returning back to work on the small screen.
PRO TIP: Head to Pinterest to find awesome goal trackers. Create one and share it with your “accountabili-buddy” to keep you both aware, accountable and on the road to success.
If you’re going to be spending time on the computer, make sure it’s time well spent. Invest your time in online writers’ forums, where you can find other freelancers, writers, bloggers, ghostwriters and content marketers just like you. Freelance forums and online writing communities are great way to virtually connect and network with freelancers with years of experience.
The Freelance Writers Den and Freelance Success are two great online writers’ forums that you can subscribe to. There you can find answers to your burning questions, get advice, find support and learn about the best practices for freelancing. A virtual writing community can be a great source of support and an even better resource.
FREELANCE TIP 4: In-person Writer Groups
As I’ve said, writing really doesn’t have to be so solitary. Find out where the writers in your city are meeting, thinking and discussing, and then go there. In-person writer groups are another great way to turn freelancing into a multiplayer game.
I’m constantly on the hunt for other writers to work and discuss with. You can check Meetup.com for writing groups in your city. If there isn’t one, form one! Other freelancers and writers will thank you.
If you know several freelancers in your town, you can organize a weekly or monthly writing group where you meet over drinks to discuss and work… or just drink and discuss!
FREELANCE TIP 5: Co-working Dates
If you know another small business owner or have a friend that works from home, schedule a co-working date to help alleviate some of that loneliness that comes with sitting at your home desk all day.
A co-working date can be as simple as meeting up at the local coffee shop, or you can alternate spreading your work across each other’s dining room tables.
FREELANCE TIP 6: Co-working Spaces
On a similar note, co-working spaces provide another solution to the creative burnout freelancers may feel from spending so many hours toiling away in solitude. Co-working spaces allow freelancers to rent desk space on a daily, monthly or short-term basis.
These spaces are filled with other creatives and local entrepreneurs. A part-time membership to a co-working space could be just the thing to satisfy your craving for creativity and social interaction.
FREELANCE TIP 7: Get Your Coffee Fix
If you’re feeling a case of cabin fever brewing, you should definitely take a trip to your favorite local coffee shop. Work at cafes when you're craving human connection; you’ll be surprised how much more productive you are.
In fact, a study published in The Journal of Consumer Research found that the average level of ambient noise found in a bustling coffee shop (~70 decibels) actually heightens creativity, compared with the quieter level of 50 decibels.
This local Philadelphia freelancer loves to bunker down at the ReAnimator Coffee Roastery and Elixr Coffee Roasters. These cozy spots are perfect for typing the day away with a quality brew while chatting with the locals.
FREELANCE TIP 8: Attend a Writing Conference
Not only do writing conferences provide excellent opportunities to rub elbows with your favorite author and hear inspiring speeches by accomplished writers, but they also provide the perfect excuse to get out and stretch your legs in a work-related fashion. Conferences are the ultimate combination of work and play, as they provide amazing opportunities for professional development and networking, along with awe-inspiring panelists.
What do you do to make the freelance life less lonely? Give us a shout in the comments below.