As a freelance writer trying to help others get into the business, I feel like I have to be honest about something. There are a lot of sunny days. No matter where you live, there are a lot of sunny days, and because you’re a freelance writer, you’re not going to be able to enjoy them. And it sucks.

Let’s back up a second. I’m the first to tell everyone how retardedly happy I am as a freelance writer. I love being able to set my own schedule, and I love not having a boss looming over me. I don’t have a traffic-filled commute with insane Jersey drivers (sorry, Jersey readers…but ya’ll are crazy) or stupid office drama between coworkers who were once lovers in the office supply closet and are now slowly ripping once another’s reputations to shreds via passive-aggressive Facebook comments. There are oodles of benefits to being a freelance writer.

I love being outside in the sun as much as the next girl...but freelance writing has taught me the meaning of "work ethic."

But if you’re interested in becoming a freelance writer, you have to know about the bad with the good. You have to know about what I call the Sunny Day Problem. I’ll say it again for emphasis - it sucks.

Shiny Balls

Before we talk about the Sunny Day Problem, I want to take a moment to address something related - Shiny Ball Syndrome. People call this a number of things, but I’ve never been one to be polite, and I think “shiny balls” is funny. I’m a 15-year-old boy sometimes. Whatever.

Anyway, basically, it means that you don’t actually get anything done because you’re distracted by all the “shiny balls” around you. Shiny Ball Syndrome attacks writers, simply because we work at computers, usually connected to the Internet, only a click away from email, Twitter, Facebook, funny videos, pictures of so-cute-you-want-to-crush-them-with-hugs kittens, old episodes of Dr. Who, and more. That’s not even counting what the Internet is really for. (NSFW) (Unless you work at home like me.) (And, I’m joking people.) (And, I bet that song will be in your head all day, haha.)

Shiny Ball Syndrome can kill your career as a freelancer if you allow that to happen. While the Sunny Day Problem can be related, it isn’t the same thing, so I don’t want you to confuse the two.

What is the Sunny Day Problem?

One of the perks of being a freelance writer is that you can make your own schedule. If you’re a mommy blogger, you can get to your kids’ games and recitals. If you’re in a relationship, you can schedule date day, not just date night, which is much better than anything that could go down in an office supply closet. If a family member gets sick, you can visit with a cup of soup in the middle of the day. It’s pretty awesome. \m/

But for every hour of work you displace with football games and three-hour lunches, you have to replace it with an hour of work some other time. Actually, more than an hour of work, since it takes time to get into the groove. Personally, I’ve found that it is about a 2:3 ratio.For every two hours I take from my work day, I spend three hours making up that work.

It’s the Sunny Day Problem. Every time you go outside to enjoy a sunny day, you have to work harder to pay your bills. Suckage.

But why does this matter?

Well…so what? Why does this matter to you? If you work in an office, you don’t get to enjoy the sunny days at all, so isn’t freelance writing the better option?

Yes. It is. At least, that’s my opinion. But too many people get into freelance writing not realizing just how much work it really is. There’s Shiny Ball Syndrome, of course, but beyond that, if you want the freedom of scheduling, you have to be dedicated to actually scheduling your work in the first place.

Simply put, you can’t take advantage of the sunny day every day. This is still a job.


The hardest thing about dealing with the Sunny Day problem is learning restraint. Time-wise, it really isn’t that big of a deal. Who cares if you have to work an extra hour at some point if it means spending time with your family and enjoying the day? I sure don’t.

If you start to take off every day, though, you’ll soon find that you don’t have time to sleep. You need to book 6-8 hours of work time, and stick to that schedule as best as possible. I mean, hey, you don’t have to work 9 - 5. I sure as hell don’t. I work late at night so that my personal time happens during the afternoon every day. That’s fine. But if you start taking off entire days, the make-up hours will build up and you’ll soon find yourself drowning in work.

It can be difficult, though, because of something I’ve listed as a benefit - the fact that you don’t have a boss. When you’re responsible to someone, you’ll show up to work and do your job. Yes, you are responsible to clients, but it isn’t the same mindset. If you’re freelancing, you need a lot of restraint so that you police yourself.

A Final Word on Sunny Days

I guess, what I’m just trying to drill into your head is that freelance writing isn’t easy. You have to work really, really hard every day to get ahead, and while you do have flexibility to your scheduling, there is always a compromise. If you want to make money without doing any work, this is not the career you want to choose, no matter how many internet marketers entice you to buy their “get rich quick” products.

The fact of the matter is that the only way to get rich quick is to be born into a millionaire family. Paris Hilton got rich in a hurry the moment she was born. As a freelance writer, that’s not going to happen. You have to be ready to work for your paycheck, just like in any other industry.

I don’t want to discourage you too much; I just want you to understand what it means to be a freelance writer. You can still enjoy the sunny days, you can still take your kids to ballet practice, and you can still visit with an old friend who’s in town - and all without pleading with your boss for time off. This is a job like no other, though, so start working as a writer knowing that there are disadvantages just like there are benefits.

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