Blog to support the book "Creatively Self-Employed: How Writers and Artists Deal with Career Ups and Downs" by Kristen Fischer
Creatively Self-Employed Website
30-something Jersey gal working as a freelance writer. Starbucks addict, beach-lover, kitty mother.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
I'm going to start a podcast.
I've been saying this for...okay, over a year. But I listened to the full interview between Marisa and Holly and I just love hearing people talk about creativity. I love knowing I'm not alone. I love knowing that we have connections.
And I want to make more.
So, let's start a thread--any topic ideas for my upcoming podcasts?
Monday, June 25, 2007
Can't Take a Vacation? Try a Short Break
Even if you're among the significant number of workers who don't use all of their vacation time, you still need regular breaks from your routine.
That time away can be a 15-minute breather for coffee, a regular exercise program, a cards night with friends, an occasional day off, or a long weekend at the beach.
The important thing is to strike a balance between your commitment to your career and your need to have an enriching personal life, according to Joe Robinson, a work-life trainer and coach, and author of "Work to Live: The Guide to Getting a Life."
"People need to consciously make balance happen; it just doesn't come," Robinson says.
Daily Breaks, Daily Rewards
No matter how much work there is to do, you will be more productive if you include some downtime.
Stop for breakfast on the way to a meeting, take a walk around the block in the middle of a long day, have a spontaneous lunch with a friend -- these are all strategies to wake up your mind.
"It's important just to walk away from the office and acknowledge you need a break," says work-life coach Natalie Gahrmann of N-R-G Coaching Associates.
Take a 'Me' Day
Schedule a day off from work built around your favorite things, whether it's sleeping late, catching a movie matinee, having a spa treatment, or sitting by the pool.
If you have a family and feel overbooked, set aside a day for spontaneous activities or even just hanging out in your pajamas.
"The bottom line is to take a break from your normal routine with some kind of positive mental shift that helps you get to a different state," says Gahrmann, author of "Succeeding as a Super Busy Parent: 75 Practical Tips for Life, Love, Kids, & Career."
Stimulate Your Mind
Try a range of activities -- whether it's golf, salsa dancing, bridge, or yoga -- but don't worry about succeeding at them.
"The best thing to do is to get out and dabble and try things," Robinson says. "You don't know if you're going to like something until you get into it. The only thing that counts is what you do for the sake of the experience."
Plan Your Getaway
Opting for a long weekend, or several shorter trips, can go a long way toward helping you recharge.
For journeys of three or four days, keep the itinerary and travel details simple, according to veteran newspaper travel columnist Donald D. Groff.
If you're driving, Groff recommends picking your destination by drawing on a map a circle with a driving radius of about 200 miles (or a three-hour drive) from your home. If you're traveling by plane, fly nonstop whenever possible. "The sooner you get to your destination, the sooner your relaxation begins," Groff says.
One destination that allows for easy coming-and-going from many parts of the country is the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas). They are 3 1/2 hours from New York City, don't require a passport for U.S. citizens, and use American currency, making for a quick transition to a beachy state-of-mind, according to Allegra Kean-Moorehead, director of communications for the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism.
"There's a little bit of everything here, whether you're looking to relax and do nothing, or really fill your vacation with lots of activities," Kean-Moorehead says.
Friday, June 22, 2007
What sparks your creativity?
What kind of creative things do you do when inspired?
I'm a writer who likes to paint and art journal on the side. What do you do?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I can't get my stinkin' post to go up on Freelance Switch. Bummer. I enjoy posting this column weekly to hear what others think.
Oh but I did write a new bio on my site. What do you think? It was time for a refresher there.
In other writing news, I am getting over what the chiropractor says is tendinitis. I have till July 31 to finish Book 2. It's very overwhelming and I stopped pushing myself once I realized the contract says the 31st and not the 1st. But I need to get back on the ball with this.
Stay tuned: A newsletter is on the way soon.
PS...I want to add more resourceful links to the CSE site. Any suggestions of good sites for freelancers and self-employed creatives?
Making Me Happy Today:
Hip Tranquil Chick: Cuz it's nice to fantasize about being tranquil and hip.
Boho Girl's Blog: Love her pics.
Anti 9-to-5: Cuz I never want to go back to a cubicle again.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Pssst...a little birdie at Amazon made it possible to search inside the book!
Monday, June 18, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Kristen King wrote a bangin' article for www.aboutfreelancewriting.com that I'd like to share!
Avoiding Freelance Burnout
by Kristen King
Freelance writers are more susceptible to burnout than those in a lot of other professions. We tend to be driven perfectionists, which means that we often push ourselves too hard to make it just right. But it’s possible to strive for perfection without overdoing it. Preventing freelance burnout is easy with just a few precautions.
Take Breaks From Writing
For every 60 to 90 minutes you work at your desk, take a 10-minute break. Sometimes you may not get to a good stopping point until closer to two hours, and that’s okay. Just make sure you keep an eye on the clock and try to avoid sitting in one place for more than an hour or two at a time.
Make those short breaks really count with some simple exercises to get your blood flowing and pump up your energy level. Do a few jumping jacks, and then bend from the waist, curving your back, and try to touch your toes. Come up with a straight back. Standing nice and tall, put your arms straight out to the sides and do some shoulder circles, 12 to the front and 12 to the back, while you march in place. If you’re feeling really ambitious, run up and down the stairs a few times before you sit back down.
Change Your Writing Scenery
Whether you work outside your home or in a home office, sometimes you just need a little variety. Work can start to feel like a chore if you’re doing the very same thing in the very same place every day. Mix it up a little by putting in a few hours with your laptop at your favorite coffee shop or café once or twice a week. If it’s nice out, try editing your latest draft outside on your deck or at the park. Even moving from your desk to the kitchen table every now and then or turning your chair to face a window instead of a wall can make a big difference.
Keep it interesting
Working on the same project for eight hours can be both exhausting and boring. Change your focus a few times throughout the day to keep your mind engaged in what you’re doing. Break larger projects up over a few days. If breaking the project up isn’t an option, schedule your time so you’re writing in the morning and editing in the afternoon—anything to refocus your energies so you stay fresh.
Take Advantage of the Freelance Writing Lifestyle
Writing is a solitary business. Make sure you give yourself opportunities to interact with other people outside of work at least every other day, if not daily. When you make your own hours, you can block out time in your day to take a class at the gym or attend a reading at your local library. Meet friends for lunch or dinner once a week, and try to go for a 20-minute walk every day. Consciously taking yourself out of the must-work mindset gives you the chance to recharge emotionally, psychologically, and even physically.
Develop a Support Network
Other freelancers can be a source of inspiration and perspective. Join (or start!) a writer’s group or participate in an online discussion forum with like-minded freelancers. Sharing your writing triumphs and successes with someone who can both celebrate and sympathize with you can help you stay grounded in a profession that depends heavily on the abstract. Other writers can also be a great resource, too, making it easy for you to find the information you need to run your business.
Burnout prevention out is all about finding balance in your daily life. Don’t be afraid to say no or to take a mini-vacay when you feel yourself slowing down. Trusting your instincts and being aware of your limitations and your needs is key to avoiding freelance burnout.
Virginia-based freelancer Kristen King has appeared in local, regional, and national publications, both in print and online. Visit her at www.kristenkingfreelancing.com or www.editingforeveryone.com.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
There's a new poll over at the CSE Message Board about being a workaholic.
Go click over!
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Maintaining Your Human Identity in a Cyber Career
It was just the other day when I submitted a writing assignment. After saving my final draft and sending it off to my boss, I took a deep breath. It was another success for a regular gig, and I had managed to get it done before deadline—as always.
But just when I thought everything was fine, a return email from my boss with a replied subject line appeared in my inbox. Expecting him to confirm he received the project, I unknowingly opened up the email to find a statement that set me off. After telling me there was an error in the title, he wrote, “Come on!”
Now, I know what “Come on!” feels like when you’re being cheered on or motivated. This was not that kind of two-word phrase. It was a snap. A sarcastic brush off that shocked me. First, I had made a mistake, which is always frustrating to cope with because I want every client to be satisfied with my work. But more so, it was how my boss said it that upset me most. It was like he was spitting out nasty comments to someone who didn’t matter, and he could say it because we weren’t face to face.
Who does he think he is, I asked myself. What’s so hard about saying, “There’s an error on the title. Please fix it and return.”
Read more at Freelance Switch...
Sunday, June 03, 2007
I suppose it's normal for all of us to be under deadlines. Right now, I am on the clock to finish my second book. I admit--I procrastinated on this one. While I've been working on it for a year, I got caught up promoting CSE and then wrapped up in house hunting and moving.
So here I am. With a month left and just 50,000 words before me.
Here are some ways to work well under a deadline:
1. Clear the Area. Clean up your desk and surroundings as best as possible so you're not tempted to clean or frustrated by the mess.
2. Prioritize. Set aside time (write it in the day planner!) so you can work on a project. Stop everything at the alloted time and get down to business.
3. Take Breaks. It's okay to take a break. Remember not to get caught up in other tasks and go to one area to relax. I try not to break for over 15 minutes.
4. Snack Happy--and Yes, Healthy. Keep healthy snacks nearby. Many of us have the tendency to eat bad when we're under pressure. On the flip side, many creatives forget to eat because they're so engrossed in their work. I'm guilty of this--yes, even me, a little Italian girl with a hearty appetite.
5. Be Kind. Reassure yourself that you'll get the work done. Draw upon past successes. I've never missed a deadline, for example, and I know I can get this done. If I get off track or don't get as much done a day as I want, I try to take it easy on myself. This is where breaks come in good if you start to beat yourself up a little.
So those are my deadline tips.
What are yours?
Friday, June 01, 2007
My next book will be published by Super College LLC and I'm looking for people in their 20s to comment on post-college life. The book is about what they wish they would have learned.
If you know anyone who is graduating or recently has, would you mind sending them to http://www.kristenfischer.com/college.htm. There's a quick questionnaire and I'll need a release form signed. I can really use your help on this! Feel free to pass this along or post it in your blogs, etc.