Monday, March 26, 2012

How do you handle a bad day?

March 16.

The day I became a full-time freelance writer. It was not without its share of hardships. For one, the full-time income wasn’t quite there yet, meaning poor-pitiful-me had to produce some pretty awful dreck to get paid. If you’ve been around the freelance game long enough, you know what I speak of:

Content Mills, duh-duh-duhhhhh!!!

I had a handful of decent assignments, but they were more like fine China around my house. You didn’t eat off them very much.

Slowly but surely, like the Little Engine That Could, I kept chugging along, believing in myself, saying my prayers, taking my vitamins, and inexplicably watching a lot of Hulk Hogan reruns on YouTube.

Today, I’m a full-blown work-for-myself kind of guy, and I feel a lot better about making the rent when it comes due every month. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It is. But it’s not perfect. Take today, for example.

One of my many jobs is I’m a reporter for a new media organization in Fort Smith, Ark., known as We’ve recently expanded to Northwest Arkansas, which would mean something to you if you actually lived here.

(Hint: NWA, as we sometimes refer to it, is where you’ll find the Walmart Headquarters. I’ll wait for the boos and the hisses to die down if you hate Walmart.)


Anyhow, tonight I have two meetings, which take place at the same time. I have another story due before the end of the night. And I’ve got one hush-hush project I’m working on, which could put me in hot water with one particular branch of local government you don’t wanna piss off. My objective will likely piss them off.

So I woke up this morning. My throat felt like a little person was on the inside of my mouth taking a tiny switchblade to my uvula.

My muscles, back, bones, ache—from what, I don’t know. It’s close to 2 p.m., and I haven’t had the energy for a shower or a meal. Just really not the kind of day you should be working, in other words.

Yet here I am, starting my day with a laundry list of complaints in the hope maybe it will energize me to do the actual paid work.

Working for yourself, ladies and gentlemen, is not always a picnic. You’ve got no sick days to run to for help. No personals. No vacation time. You don’t work, you don’t eat. Pretty simple. Throw into the mix, I’m down to the last 10,000 words of my workable draft of The Vacant, which will finish out tomorrow, come Hell or High Water, and you’ve got one tired me.

If you’re serious about working for yourself, you’ve got to realize there are going to be days like this, and you’ve got to find ways to work wthrough them. This bitch-fest blog post is how I’m doing it. I don’t want or need sympathy. I just need to throw some thoughts out on paper, get my fingers working on something with a point, and work out the cobwebs enough so I can do my jobs. All of ‘em.

And already, I feel better.

How do you handle the tough days when your body and/or mind is not cooperating? Horror fans…writers…share your thoughts below.