We hear all the time that writing is good for the mental health. That is certainly the case for the majority of people. But there are some cases where freelance writing is bad for your mental health.
I want to cover that today. It’s so important to do the best for us. I know at one point I was putting so much focus on pleasing others that I’d forgotten about my own mental health. Writing was causing the problem and I needed to take a step away.
It’s mostly when you write too much or when you have PITA writing clients. You need to make some changes to enjoy writing again.
Do you recognize any of these issues below? If you do, take a minute or two to assess your writing life and look at changes you can make. Here’s how freelance writing is bad for your mental health.
You Don’t Get to Write What You Want
When writing for clients, you may not cover the topics that you enjoy. There was one month where I wrote about payday loans. That was it. There was no break from it as I had to get out article after article on the subject.
Needless to say, I know all about payday loans now. But I absolutely hated it! Yes, hated and despised it. If that was what being a writer meant, I wanted out of the business right there and then.
Luckily, that wasn’t what being a writer was about. The next month I got to write on other topics. I got to cover some of the topics I loved and I started to fall back in love with writing.
If you stuck writing topics you hate, you’ll need to look again at your client base. Find clients who work in niches that you enjoy. Now I prefer to do weddings, parenting, and some other personal finance topics for clients. I stay well away from the topics I hate.
There’s No Break in the Day or Week
I say on a regular basis that writers need to take time off. If you haven’t started taking at least one day a week off from writing (especially writing for clients) then you need to make some changes now.
If you worked for an employer you’d likely get one day a week off. That’s the case in the UK and it’s the case where I am in Canada. You need the time off to be more productive in the work place. You need to spend time with your family and friends.
Well, it’s time to take some time off as a freelance writer. Okay, so you have a day where you won’t get paid, but that’s where your freelance writing rate comes into play. That rate needs to factor in that you won’t work 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
I take at least one and a half days off writing. I try to take two, but sometimes my blogs need doing. I can accept working on my blogs because I’m only working for me and it’s something that has turned into a family project now. All client work is done over the course of five days and I want to get it to the point where I do only four days for clients.
Make sure you set up a schedule that allows you at least one day off writing for clients to look after your mental health.
You Spend Too Long at the Computer
Your physical health will start failing the more you write. This is especially the case if you don’t take breaks and find time to exercise on a daily basis.
When your physical health starts to fail, your mental health will too. You can be in pain on a daily basis or feel stiff and tired. The best thing you can do is stop writing and look after your physical health. I can promise you that your mental health will follow.
I found that this was a major problem around the time I did those payday loan articles. My whole body ached from just writing and writing. My writers need to take time off really played up and I needed time to recover after that. My mental health had taken a nose dive and that didn’t do well for my family. Once I recovered, my mental health improved and I promised myself I would never do something like that again.
You Don’t Get the Social Time With Your Friends
You spend so much time working that you don’t get the social time. As much as I’m an introvert and like my own company, I still need to talk to others. I still need some sort of socialization.
Freelance writers tend to spend so much time stuck behind their computer that they don’t get the socialization aspect. Plus we don’t exactly work with others! We tend to work from home, where the kids are often the only source of interaction we get.
Can you really tell me that this is enough?
I’ve started working out of the home now and then. I’ll sit in a coffee shop or in the library. I may not get to talk to a lot of people, but there is usually someone who has a few things to say at some point during the day. There’s the barista who will have a conversation while she makes the drink or someone else working who wants to take a break.
I also arrange lunch with my husband. This is our chance to chat about how our day is going and discuss the plan of attack for the rest of the day.
Freelance writing is bad for your mental health. What changes will you make to stop this from becoming a problem?