When I first set out in the glamourous, unknown world of freelancing, I was fully committed to staying at home and saving money on $10 lunches or the lure of morning coffee. I figured that if I was going to already be paid relatively lowly — you seriously just got to love it and have supplemental income when you do it — that this would be a way for me to save on Metro card rides and the occasional cupcake purchase that always seems to happen when I step out of the house. Seriously, I don’t know how those baked goods end up in my bag.
What I realized about freelancing later on was that you will slowly go crazy if you spend all day in the apartment. You don’t think that would be the case, actually. You think, “Oh. I am fully committed to my apartment. I love writing there! I love my flowery curtains and the easy access to the bathroom! I don’t need to work well with others anymore! I don’t need to wash my hair everyday!” No. I will tell you that you are wrong, because spending your working hours in your house and then your fun hours in your house will give you cabin fever faster than a cabin with a cold sneezing on your naked face.
You will get work done in the house, no doubt about that, but only because those brief Gchat check-ins from your editor will keep you from doubting your existence. A few coping mechanisms you will implement:
Adding everyone and their mother on Gchat to have some semblance of human interaction
You begin to pepper people with random questions because you don’t know what the daily gossip is: what are they eating for breakfast? What are they now eating for lunch? Who was their first crush? Did they know that yogurt was a good source of protein? Yes, you will look crazy, but you decide that it’s fine as long as people talk to you.
Send all the Gifs you can through Gchat
Making fancy lunches to look forward to
Dressing up in the fanciest clothes you own while you sit in your bed to write pieces
Because it’s like you made an effort to leave the house. Also, you always did want to wear that prom dress* again. Extra points for doing your hair, attempting make-up, and are you actually wearing those pinching high heels in bed? Yes, yes you are. *who are you kidding, you can’t fit into the prom dress, because of all the pasta, but all of the pasta was worth it.
Go to the nearest coffee shop and spend your entire day there
Yeah…trying to save money on coffee or $10 lunches? That goes out the door because you are in desperate need for human interaction, and even just a small “how are you?” from the coffee barista will do. You, of course, will tell them exactly how you are in explicit detail and with lots of jokes, because if they laugh, then you will feel a sense of accomplishment that you are still funny and likeable and would crack your imaginary coworkers up at some imaginary water cooler in the distant future. Now, when you slowly start to spend most of your paycheck on coffee — more than one because you can’t sit there for eight hours without buying something else! — and pastries to reward yourself for being productive you realize that you should reevaluate yourself. One, despite being at the coffee house to receive fresh baked goods all day long, you are not getting any exercise walking the five minutes from your apartment to their counter everyday, and two, you probably are suited elsewhere.
DISCLAIMER: Freelancing didn’t work for me. I just didn’t get the hang of it, but I think that it takes self-discipline and a certain type of person to enjoy. Maybe it was my subject matter I took up or maybe it was because I wasn’t finding good enough gigs to keep my afloat in NYC, but I’m at least glad that I tried it. Now I realize that I can take up occasional freelance gigs with my full-time job, and that’s what worked for me.