THURSDAY MORNING COFFEE – Freelance discipline: Don’t let your hobby horses carry you away!


I’m a writer and I run a small business from home. This means my time tends to be unstructured. This is good, because I can do all kinds of fun things when others are in their office cubicles. This is also potentially deadly – lack of structure can lower productivity and, thus, income.

Unless I prioritize, compromise, and trade. This week was a definite “trade” week. Tuesday is usually japanese sword class, and Wednesday is karate black belt class. HOWEVER, I had some gardening to do, I’m getting a finished manuscript ready for submission, and I took two friends morel-hunting in the woods. Gardening = no sword. Woods = no karate. Did it suck? You bet it did. It felt good, too, though. It’s better to catch up on what must be done than feeling guilty afterward. And paying the bills is nice, too.

As a free-lancer, it’s way too tempting to “take half a day off” and go forage for a fungus or take a long bike ride and chalk it all up to book research. Undefended book research is poor free-lance discipline. I did get out during the day and I did get my spring dose of UV, but I stayed home on those two nights, tied to my computer, and I got a good bit of work done. This might obvious, but it’s not. It’s too easy to slip into the “I can do this, I’m my own boss” mindset and spend more and more time in the woods (or the stable, the dojo, the garden, or wherever you like to get your hands dirty). Before you know it, a week goes by with just two measly pages of writing to show for it.

Yesterday’s trip has been worth it – I helped my friends, one of whom is a martial arts instructor who’s taught me so much over the years – find their first morels hiding in the lush, spring undergrowth. Good trip, good company, no ticks. Coming home and buckling down made it guilt-free, though, and that was the best ending of all.

So how do you impose structure into your freelance life? There are ways. Stay tuned till next week. Meanwhile, admire the picture of my first 2015 morel!

This entry was posted in excess freedom, free-lance work, hobbies, morels, mushrooms, structure, Thursday Morning Coffee Blog, time management, work, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to THURSDAY MORNING COFFEE – Freelance discipline: Don’t let your hobby horses carry you away!

  1. Heidi says:

    Structuring my freelancing has always been an ongoing struggle for me. I find that what works best is to have “office hours”, so I’ll get up in the morning and work until I’m done with whatever I planned to be done with, and then I get the evening off. I try to be flexible too though, but while also keeping in mind that too many breaks makes for an awfully long day.

    • katepavelle says:

      Heidi, I find I do well during the school year, when I wake up to make my younger daughter’s lunch and see her off. Summers are hard, though. My 6:30 wake-up call slips to 7, then 7:30… it’s tough. And now that we lost our dog, I don’t have anyone nagging me for a morning walk!

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