Freelance writers: How to avoid getting cabin fever

By Katharine Swan On Friday, May 09, 2008 At 8:03 PM

All work and no play this time of year gives freelance writers cabin fever this time of year! My last post was about the challenges I'm facing with the onset of warmer weather; this post will be about how to enjoy the warm weather enough to stave off cabin fever, but not so much that your business suffers.

Here are some tricks I usually use to get out and enjoy the weather:

1. Work outside. This one is my favorite, which is why it goes first. I love taking my laptop out on the front porch to work during the warmer months. (This year, though, I'll probably need to invest in a new battery — I have only about a third of the capacity as I had last summer.)

I may also try taking my laptop out to the barn to work this summer. That way I can be around my horse and still get work done. I may even have access to wireless there, since the stable owners have it up at the house!

2. Get out during lunch. Last summer I usually took an hour for lunch and just read. This summer I'll probably be spending long "lunch breaks" at the barn. The barn's owner, Karen, also has a full-time telecommuting job, and she often takes her lunch break atop her horse's back.

3. Take daily walks. Even if you don't get out to do much else, a walk is a nice treat. Last year during the warmer months, Michael and I took a walk every morning before he had to go to work. We're planning to do that again this year — providing I can readjust to the earlier schedule.

4. Go out in the evenings. I don't know about you, but summer always makes me think of socializing more. Being sure to get out occasionally in the evenings helps stave off cabin fever, particularly back when I was otherwise cooped up in the house for days on end.

5. Plan a day off for summer activities from time to time. Not too long ago, I rediscovered the advantages to taking a vacation. I also plan to take a day off here and there during the summer. Living in Colorado, heading up into the mountains from time to time is a nice treat; and of course, I'll probably spend at least one of those days at the barn.

Of course, the biggest problem with getting out during the summer is that it usually makes you want to work even less. Hopefully you are more disciplined than I am — I have no doubt that I'll be spending many unplanned afternoons at the barn this summer!

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Anonymous Devon Ellington Says:  

I do all of those things. I was recently in Maine, caring for elderly, ill relatives. When the weather was nice and they were settled, I took my writing out to the lake.

A needed break.

I read your response to that content buyer who thinks poor writing skills can still have good content -- what is he smoking? I just wanted to THROW UP.

This is why I don't use places like eLance. I find companies that intrigue me and convince them they can't live without me.

 
 
Blogger Irreverent Freelancer Says:  

I have numbers 1, 3 and 4 covered pretty well and I'm working on number 5. Number 2, however, is my downfall. I eat at my desk and don't actually take a lunch break per se. I either work while I'm eating or catch up on blogs and email. Maybe I'll try slowly easing in to a lunch hour by trying to take one once or twice a week. Oh, and my laptop battery seems to be losing power too!

 
 
Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  

Devon,

Writing by the lake sounds fantastic. :o)

Thanks for reading my comment on the content buyer's blog. It's appalling that content buyers not only hire writers with this philosophy, but also encourage others to do the same.

 
 
Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  

Kathy,

I actually eat at my computer a lot, too. I save my "lunch" break for more important things than eating. ;o)

 
 
Blogger Lori Says:  

I meet a writer friend every week for coffee. We spend an early Friday morning hashing out writerly issues, then we're both home by 9:30 in the morning actually working. It's a great way to end the week.

 
 
Blogger Irreverent Freelancer Says:  

If I could actually get my butt out of bed earlier than 8:45, I might try your Friday morning breakfast idea, Lori. ;o) My brother, who is a mechanic and has to work Saturdays, does the same thing. He and his colleague meet for Saturday breakfast to make working the half weekend feel a little less like working.

 
 
Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  

...And then there's me, struggling just to get up before 10:30am...

LOL!

My personal scheduling struggles aside, Lori, it does sound like a good way to end the week. Michael goes for coffee every Wednesday and Friday mornings with a co-worker -- Friday to end the week on a happy note, and Wednesday to help get him over the hump!

 

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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