Freelance Success: One Writer’s Scary Secret You Should Copy

Carol Tice

Ever wonder what the secret to freelance success is?

You might think freelance success looks like this…

You’re always on, working around the clock…even on weekends, and checking e-mails at all hours.

That’s how you get ahead, right?

It’s kind of the status quo for a lot of freelance writers, entrepreneurs, and workaholics.

You’re afraid you’ll miss a deadline, fail to connect with a prospect, or miss an opportunity that could make you $$$. So you work…all the time.

Been there, done that chasing freelance success?

If you’ve even remotely found yourself thinking like this or working this way, it’s time for a change.

Want to know a ‘scary’ little secret about freelance success?

During my wonderfully restful winter break + working as a digital nomad I realized I’ve given a lot of advice about how to make a living writing.

But I’ve dished out a lot of writing advice over the years without discussing the one rule that’s really made it possible for me to achieve freelance success,  and become a well-paid freelance writer.

So I’m going to tell it to you now…

Fasten your seatbelts, because this one piece of advice will be the single most powerful thing I will ever tell you.

This one has the potential to completely change your life. If you’re the workaholic type, this might even sound a little scary.

Ready? Here it is:

Every week, from Friday sunset until Saturday after sunset, I don’t work.

Not ever.

  • I turn off my computer, my phone, my cellphone and whatever other devices are around that might lead to working.
  • I am not posting on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.
  • I’m not updating my Web site, prospecting for clients, filing articles, or conducting interviews.

Even more radical than not working for 25 hours each week…

During that time period I don’t think about work, either.

I don’t plan what I’ll do when I get back to the computer.

I don’t talk business with friends.

I slam the door on my business life and leave it completely behind.

Go ahead, copy me!

Each and every week, I take a complete vacation from working.

It’s called Shabbat, or the Sabbath. And it’s the most amazing tool for personal growth ever invented.

Without that time away to reflect, relax, unplug…we humans tend to just grind along, slowly getting more and more burned out.

We don’t progress as fast. We don’t fully realize our potential.

Freelance success requires time to recharge

When Stephen Covey made “sharpen the saw” one of his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he was echoing a timeless truth: we need time off to recharge in order to be our best.

There’s a reason we’re not called “human doings” but “human beings.”

We need time to just be.

To discover who we really are, apart from our ability to earn, meet deadlines, and take meetings.

To simply marvel at our good fortune at being alive in this beautiful world.

Discover the power of a digital detox

FYI…I’m not trying to convince anyone to practice my religious faith – Jews don’t seek converts.

But in today’s real-time culture of 24/7 connectivity, I’m finding it’s more important than ever to carve out a big block of time away from work each week.

Why? It’ll save your sanity, refresh you, inspire you, and make you a better friend, sibling, spouse, parent…and writer.

It may sound scary to take one-seventh of your time each week and commit to making it work-free.

When people start doing it, they’re often terrified they’ll earn less.

But the reality is you’ll probably earn more, because you’ll be so much more effective. Either way, I guarantee you’ll be happier.

Remember, nobody’s tombstone says, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.”

All I can say is try it, you’ll like it!

Maybe for you it’ll be Sundays, or Mondays, or it’ll start in the morning, or whenever. However you do it, know that you deserve a day off.

Take it, and see what happens. You might be surprised by the freelance success that follows.

Do you unplug to become a better writer? Tell us about it in the comments.

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    Thank you for this insight. i’m a Christian and I’ve long known that the Sabbath is very important to recharge our batteries. Though, unfortunately, I’ve not put it into practice. Thanks for the gentle reminder. Something I need to do just like when God rested from all His work.

    • Carol Tice

      Exactly, Renik!

  2. Leila Rodrigues

    Thanks for this article.

  3. Linda H

    I’ve known you unplug for shabbat every week for years. I commend you for it. I don’t unplug for shabbat, I unplug for my Sabbath on Sunday mornings for worship and on Saturdays to simply enjoy a day of relaxing, watching tv, or taking a trip. I unplug too. And yes, it makes all the difference in the world. I detox on work and when I return after my rest I’m fresher, have better ideas, am more organized and disciplined.

    I agree, Carol, taking time off to detox and enjoy life is a refreshing. It’s always been taught that we can work six days, but we should take one full day to relax, enjoy family and life, and get rested. It’s the one best tool a freelancer can should use. And it’s free.

  4. Richard Simpson

    Thanks Carol. I’m trying so hard to get on the technological playing field that I just can’t stop kicking the ball around every day for 10 hours, I’m a techno-klutz. I struggle even to fill in an online application form and attach the right documents. Do you have any advice. I’m 73. I love the way you live and write.
    Rich Simpson.

    • Carol Tice

      Sure — stop appyling to online job ads! In my Freelance Writers Den community, we teach you how to go identify and pitch your own clients. Tends to have much better results than sending a resume that will compete with 500 others, on some mass job ad!

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