The sun has come out to visit today and it has made me so grateful that I work from home and am in charge of my own schedule. It wasn’t always this way and I did begin my adult working life in a 9 to 5 job where I stayed for ten years. I always had a passion for writing but at that stage I wasn’t aware of the fact that I could get paid to write and the internet was still relatively new. There were no blogs back then. Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist either. I’m pretty sure there was no MySpace or even Bebo when I was out working. Gosh, it makes me feel old now.
Making Lots of Money Freelancing
It was only after I had my daughter Emma and we had internet installed in our home that I began looking at writing. At the start it was joining writing groups and poetry websites but I loved it and I was having fun. In 2004, I discovered a website where you could bid on writing work. This sounded amazing to me and was the start of my journey. The site doesn’t exist anymore and I can’t even remember what it was called, but for me it was a turning point. From there came Elance and back in 2004 the rates were so much better than what they are today. Blogging hadn’t really taken off just yet but keyword articles were a big thing. I remember those days of slogging away, working on 100 keyword articles all on the topic of vacuum cleaners. After a couple of years of writing part time, I was earning the same wage as I was working full time in my day job. In 2006 when I was expecting my son, I made the decision to become a stay at home mom. It was the best decision that I ever made.
Money is NOT The Key To Happiness
I’m not going to say that freelancing was a breeze and that everything went really well for me. Initially it did and I loved all the money I was making. I probably loved the money too much and worked more and more to earn more and more. In fact, I remember getting up in the mornings and turning on my laptop and then not turning it off again until I was going to bed. Every spare minute was spent at the laptop. When my son was napping, I was typing, when he was quiet and playing, I was typing away. When my husband came home from work, I went upstairs to my little office and I was typing. There were often times when I was typing till 3am. It was great for about a year and then everything came crashing down. I had no balance in my life. All I did was work and focus on making more and more money. I never left the house unless I had to and I was constantly checking emails. My husband began to feel neglected and it started to cause a lot of problems. My marriage was on the verge of destruction because all I did was work and in the end, I had some decisions to make.
Around this time, I was also getting very frustrated and bored with writing for other people too. I was so tired of the keyword stuffed articles that were being requested. I wanted something more. The love of writing was slowly being taken from me and my dreams of becoming a writer were slowly becoming nightmares.
A New Light Emerges Called Balance
In 2008 we went on a family trip to Disneyland, Paris. It was a chance for us all to re-connect as a family. My husband insisted that I have no internet connection whatsoever for the duration of our holiday. I suffered withdrawal for about a day or two. I kept wondering what I was missing, how many emails I had waiting for me, what my website statistics were like, and so on. After the second day, I began to relax. I started enjoying the freedom. I was enjoying my family time. My husband and I were chatting and laughing, enjoying each others company again. I began to question my life and the problems we had been having. Something clicked and I realised what I had been doing these last couple of years. I had been so caught up in making money that I forgot that the whole purpose of me staying at home was to enjoy writing and enjoy raising my children. Somewhere along the way, the lines had gotten crossed.
Needless to say, when I returned from my holiday things changed. I began looking at things differently and I began saying no. I set up a work schedule and only turned my laptop on while the children were at school or pre-school. Once they arrived home, the laptop was turned off. I never turned it on at weekends either. Back then there were no smartphones either so there were no distractions.
I have stuck to it since then. My laptop doesn’t ever go on at weekends unless it is for entertainment purposes for the whole family. I have my phone set so that I only get notified about important emails. I can check facebook, etc on my phone but this is never work related. The weekend has become family time and I am so much happier. I choose the clients I work with now. I choose the articles I want to write. I have found the love for writing again and I write for myself too. I have published a number of books under my own name and have ghostwritten a number of books for others too. Every project I take on now excites me and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am no longer stressed and tired all the time. I get time to relax and my brain isn’t constantly thinking about articles that I have to write or how much money I am making each month. In fact, I learned such a valuable lesson back in 2008, money really can’t buy you happiness. Chasing after money is never going to help you fulfil your dreams. You have to do what you love to do. You have to do what makes you happy. If you can do this, everything else will fall into place.
Balance IS The Key
In the end it really is all about balance. Balance in your work life, home life, family life, and time for yourself. When you achieve balance in all these areas, you will find that you smile more, you are more sociable and you look forward to what life has to bring. You find without realising that you are living your dreams because at the end of the day, all any of us ever really want is to be happy. When we have balance, happiness comes easily.
If you are feeling stressed and fed up with where you are in life, then my advice is to turn off all your devices, sit down and take a good look at what is working and what isn’t. Why are you feeling stressed? What can you do to change it? Remember we all have choices and it is up to you whether you choose to fix your life or not. It may not be easy but in the end, if you always do what you have always done, you will only ever get what you have always gotten. I love that little quote and if you stop and think about it, it really makes sense. If you keep saying that you want to be a writer but you never write, you will never reach your goal. You have the power to change your life right now. All you need to do is find that balance that is going to allow happiness and joy into your life.
I will leave you with my little Friday piece of inspiration and that is to pause and really notice life this weekend. Take a deep breath and feel grateful for the fresh air. Smile at everyone you pass. Smile at yourself every time you look in the mirror. Do this each day this weekend and come back here on Monday and let me know the effects it had on you.
Until next time,