A Day in the Life of a Freelance Writer: A Semi-Typical Day

I know these posts usually have pictures, but who has time for that?! Will do better with the next one!

 

Today (though this is going up tomorrow) is a semi-typical day. It is fairly close to what I do every day, with a few exceptions. I usually do more writing and less research than I did today, but I have some in-depth articles and reports to write, so the research part takes up more time than actually writing it. I also had a phone conference, which only happens once a month.

Whether you’re interested in what freelance writers (or freelancers in general) do all day, here is a brief rundown of my day.

6:00 am – Wake up, get ready for the day.  I woke up at 6. It’s fairly normal. Most days I get up between 4:30 and 6:30. Just whenever my body decides it’s time, or my dogs jump on my face demanding I get up.

6:30 am – Check email and apply for jobs. By 6:30 I’m ready to work for the day. I spend 99% of my time in yoga pants and t-shirts. That’s just how I roll. So “getting dressed” simply means changing my pajama yoga pants into my day yoga pants. I spend the first hour of my day checking and responding to email, applying for jobs on the daily job boards, and checking my social media. I was finding that I was checking it too much throughout the day, so I force myself to only check in the morning, at night when I’m done working for the day, and on my breaks if I get any.

7:30 am - Walk to the store. I don’t have a car and I needed a few things from my store, so between 7:30 and 8:30 I was just running some errands.

8:30 am – Started researching work. At this point, I was ready to finally start working, which consisted of going through my workload for the day, creating documents, coming up with titles and topics, and starting to research them. Today, I have roughly 13,000 words total to write, so it’s going to be some heavy research.

10:00 am – Conference call. From 10-11, I had a conference call with my writing team for one of my bigger projects. It was the first one, so this isn’t something that usually happens for me. I was about as awkward as can be expected.

11:00 am – Photographed jewelry. Another thing I don’t have every single day is stuff for my Etsy shop. I recently got supplies for a new Spring line so I had to take advantage of the natural lighting I was getting. It really messes with my focus when I have to stop working for things like this, but it has to be done!

11:30 am – Finish researching work. Another hour was spent researching work. Because of this, I had to skip lunch today, so I just quickly made a sandwich and ate while I worked.

12:30 pm – Finally start writing. It’s pretty rare that I don’t write until after noon, but I had some other things going on in the morning and researching this work took longer than it usually does. Some nights, I can get everything prepared for the morning, but today I had last-minute assignments come through in the morning that added to my day’s work.

3:00 pm – Edit jewelry pics and post. I took a break from work to get some of my pics edited. I really want to get all of these up as soon as possible since they’re being marketed for Spring. Posting items to Etsy is time consuming, so I tried to rush through this as much as possible. I photographed a lot, but only had time to edit and post a few.

4:00 pm – Back to writing. I am now finished with 6 blog posts, 3 business articles, 3 hotel descriptions, and 2 re-writes. I spent this hour starting on the rest of my travel articles for the day.

5:00 pm – Dinner time! I lucked out and had my husband make dinner tonight, since I didn’t have a spare moment and we got microwaveable pre-prepared meals from Fresh and Easy. Seriously a life saver when you don’t have time for shit!

6:00 pm – Finish work, research, get my husband’s work ready. The end of my day is for finishing up whatever isn’t done by now. I always have a goal to be done before dinner, but I have yet to accomplish it. I finished my writing work for the day, and managed to research about half of what I have for tomorrow morning. I also get my husband’s work ready since he is up at night doing other writing/editing/research projects. This started as my business alone, so all communications go through my email. I just make him a list of what needs to be done at night. There are certain projects I save for him because of the topics or if they are due early the next morning.

9:00 pm – Blog post, then family time. I’m getting through this blog post as fast as I can. My dogs know when it’s time to stop working for the day. One is pretending to stretch on me while the other is laying right on top of my feet. As for family time, we always make sure we have at least an hour or two every night for spending time together away from cell phones and computers. Usually my husband and I watch a movie, play a video game, or play with the dogs during this time. Sometimes I’m so exhausted I just sit and listen to him talk. Either way, it’s important to us to make time for it.

11:30 pm – BED TIME! 

In case you lost count, it’s about 14 hours of working. Whether that means researching, applying for jobs, sending communications, getting docs ready, uploading to Google Docs, working on my Etsy shop (it also generates income) or actually writing, it’s still work. When you freelance, everything is your responsibility, from marketing to writing and editing.

You will notice I didn’t do shit around the house :) I have gotten better with that lately, trying to save an hour in the afternoon for at least picking up, or I will do laundry sporadically throughout the day, but I don’t have time some days. Men super suck at cleaning, but I do give mine a list of things I need done/don’t have time for that he can do without screwing it up. Like vacuuming.. God Bless a husband who likes to vacuum! Aside from that, if it doesn’t get done, it doesn’t get done. I don’t see any cleaning police showing up at my door with a citation.

I hope that helped, or at least made you see what a workaholic I have become, and why I almost never have time to write a blog post. I’m working on that too!

JennSig

SoDamnCharming Shop + An Announcement!

sodamncharminglogo2

First of all, thank you for being patient with me! I know I keep coming and going. Keeping up multiple blogs, an Etsy shop, and a writing job keeping me working at least 80 hours a week is hard work! But enough of my excuses ;)

My Etsy Shop, So Damn Charming, is finally back up! I took it down about a month ago due to not having enough time for shipping items. I was getting things out too slow and wanted to catch up on other stuff first. Finally, I am fully prepared to send all packages from home so there shouldn’t be a problem getting them out within the 2 business days I promise.

 

Here are some things to know about the shop:

  • As of now, everything ships for free, no matter where you live or how much you order.
  • I put all my green items on sale for 20% off during St. Patty’s Day and the discount will extend through all of Spring.
  • I ship in 1-2 business days, including Saturdays.
  • All profits from sales go toward funding IVF (In-vitro fertilization, for those of you not familiar with it). I will talk more about that later, but it’s an infertility treatment and our only option left.
  • I accept custom orders. Seeing what I have now is a good indication of my abilities as far as custom orders go.
  • Personalized stamped jewelry is being added soon!

 

Announcement:

Now that I have pimped out myself, let’s do it more! When I started this blog, I didn’t intend to keep the name “It’s a Jenn Thing.” To be honest, I would have started it about 6 months earlier if I ever found a name I liked. Jenn is a hard name to be creative with when hundreds of other Jenns also have blogs and have stolen all the good names! Even when I thought of blog names without my actual name in the title, I just didn’t like any of them.

Finally, I have decided on a different name, one I intend on sticking with until forever, or a few months when I tire of it. When I get closer to the re-branding, I will let you know. At that point, I will go back to blogging daily and being more involved in the community. I’m so afraid of someone else taking it before I can buy the domain name, I’m keeping it a secret for now.

That’s all. BYE!

 

The Anxiety Diaries: 5 Panics in 1 Day? Yep.

e3d0f15470243e3f766e7b5a4c1fad1f

 

This picture above is by far the best depiction of the thoughts that go through your mind during the beginning of a panic attack. 

The past three days have been hell, I won’t lie. Even talking about or thinking about these major panic attacks I have been having, and the tunnel vision, heart racing, chest pains and shortness of breath comes back. So it’s hard to blog about, but I feel the need to document it. I have a feeling a therapist is the next person I will see outside of my house.

It all started about 3 days ago, when I was going for a walk with my dogs. That’s it. A walk with my dogs. Walking anywhere is a bit of a struggle, but mostly with general anxiety, and not these major attacks. On that day, however, I got a major attack after swallowing my water wrong and dry heaving, which made me feel like I was choking, and it just escalated from there.

The following day I got another one when walking to the store. This was one of the “mini heart attack” ones where I get it for about 10 seconds in a single location, usually somewhere I have had a panic attack previously. No surprise, this was in the exact spot I had the one the day before. It’s like you’re walking through a tunnel of anxiety, but once you get out of it, everything is fine. So that’s basically what happened. My entire body got weak and it felt like I was crawling through the tunnel, but I made it home.

Today I experienced 5 of them. FIVE. I would cry, but that gives me heart palpitations which we all know just makes everything worse. The first was when I as again, walking to the store. I thought it would be no big deal because I didn’t have any anxiety this morning. It didn’t matter. As soon as I walked out the door, I felt it coming. On the way there, I had the mild anxiety I generally have while walking. And then it got worse. After about 1/4 mile (which is halfway to the store) I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it home. I had to reach out for things at every opportunity, to brace myself. (Which makes me think I have agoraphobia). I grabbed telephone poles, gates, fences, even tree branches. Anything.

Once I was in the store, I was fine, but then I had my 2nd one that day on the way home. This was bad. I actually felt like I was going to pass out. I grabbed my phone and was about to call someone to come get me, but I didn’t think anyone would be available. So I just ran. This is how you know it’s serious. I don’t run. Anywhere. I can barely make these walks without being winded. But with 3 heavy bags in my hand, I ran as fast as I could the 1/2 mile home, including up a super steep hill to get there.

Number three attack of the day occurred about 2 hours later when I was attempting to take the dogs for a walk. We made it about a minute through our housing community before I picked them both up and ran back home. Again, similar to agoraphobia, I just felt like I was too far from home (was so close I could see my house still) and had no control over my surroundings. When I got home, I sat on the steps and let them pee in the yard, but I felt bad about cutting the walk short.

The biggest surprise today was that the last two panic attacks were at home. I almost never have them at home. Probably not even 1% of the time. They always happen outside the home, when I feel like I can’t control where I am, especially when I’m out alone. The first was when I was just sitting at my computer, working, and all of a sudden I was sure my heart was no longer beating. I can’t describe it too much, as it is getting me all anxious and sweaty just thinking about it. The next was in the shower, which I also had to cut short. Seriously? I can’t even take a damn shower now?!

The ones at home got so bad that when I was in the living room going from one side to the other where there is nothing but empty space, I felt those “mini heart attacks” just trying to get past that empty space. What the hell? I think it’s therapy time. This is insane. And the more I am having, the worse it is getting.

So that was a fun time. I have been looking up and asking for advice on natural treatments in the meantime. So far, I am going to be trying mindfulness, yoga, chamomile and green tea, lavender oil, and counting backwards. Any other recommendations?

 

I Didn’t Miss My Alarm Clock

Credit: Laura Evans Photography

Credit: Laura Evans Photography

 

Now that I have been freelance writing for a few years, I am out of the habit of using an alarm clock. Before you roll your eyes, I don’t sleep in until noon. My body’s internal alarm still wakes me up between 5 and 6 am every morning. If my body doesn’t, my dogs do.

I often find myself taking for granted being able to wake up at any time I want, until I need to wake up earlier, set an alarm, and drag myself out of bed. Like this morning. My 2-week work invoice is due at 9am, so I got the brilliant idea to get up at 4 and get some last-minute work done. I lost a few days of work due to the new project not being quite ready yet, so I’m playing catch up.

For some reason in my mind, I thought it wouldn’t be that hard. I set the alarm for 4am.. only 2 hours earlier than normal. No big deal, right? Plus, it’s not like I need to go anywhere. I work from home. Simple.

Yeah, no. If I got up naturally at this time in the morning, it would be no big deal. But something happens in your brain when you HAVE to do something. All of a sudden it becomes impossible and terrible. So here I am. Up at 4, wishing I was dead. Okay not dead. Just asleep.

I see a noon-time nap in my future.

JennSig

The Anxiety Diaries: It’s My Panic Attack and I’ll Cry if I Want to

fa9bda2188fc759a8b756d9cc7e333cf

 

I haven’t actually had a panic attack in a few weeks, not a full blown one anyway. Then the other day I had chest pain and lung pain (no clue the reason, it’s gone now) and immediately I started panicking. This is one of the main sources of panic attacks and general anxiety occurring at home.

To be honest, the majority of my anxiety happens when I’m out in the world. I am usually okay when at home. But my biggest fears are my heart stopping, choking, or not being able to breathe, so any type of chest pain freaks me out. It also commonly leads to heart palpitations, which we all know is just a big mess for me.

It escalated exactly how I expected it to. I kept trying to suck in deeper breaths, only to realize I couldn’t, which then made me feel like my throat was closing and my air was being cut off. Then my throat got dry, which in turn caused it to be harder to breathe. Then the inevitable coughing fits, therefore worsening my chest pain.

Have we talked about stupid panic and anxiety is? It is basically a series of events of you virtually causing the attack in the first place.

Midway through the panic attack that lasted about 45 minutes, I started crying. I always know it’s going to happen, but this was the first time I realized I cry almost every time I have a bad one. I think it has something to do with being afraid and frustrated.

My anxiety frustrates me more than anything. In the midst of one, I am fearful for my life, but I am mostly just irritated at it happening. I know I have to wait it out, I know it will be hell until it’s over, I know afterward I will feel fine and like a crazy person. So I cry. Because I just want this part to be over. I want to never have one again. I want to be normal and be able to have chest pains or walk across the street or over a bridge without feeling like I am a 33-year old about to have a heart attack or a stroke.

Hopefully I’m not the only one this happens to. I can’t seem to control it either. It just happens. It is one of those cries where you feel like you are either going to cry or throw up, if that makes any sort of sense.

If I haven’t said it enough times, anxiety is super fun!

JennSig

I Make To-Do Lists of To-Do Lists

to-dolist

Think this is just a catchy title? It’s not. I have literally written a to-do list with “make a new to-do list” on it, and crossed it off when making my new to-do list. I might have a problem.

But this post isn’t about my borderline selective OCD; it’s about the importance of organizing. OCD isn’t the only selective personality trait I have. I also have selective cleaning and organizing skills. This means my house is disgusting, but my junk drawer is completely organized. My purse is a hot mess, but if I can find my notebook, it is perfectly labeled with everything I need from every store I plan to go to during a day of running errands.

If you have ever told yourself this lie: “I don’t need to write it down, I’ll remember” – then you need to start making to-do lists. You don’t have to have separate notebooks like I do (one for blogs, one for work, one for daily errands, one for miscellaneous notes, etc.), but keeping one notebook with you at all times is a necessity. I recommend one in every room of your house, your car, your purse, your desk at work or school, and anywhere else you frequent, but that might just be me.

How to Write a To-Do List:

  • Write everything you plan to do for that day.
  • Write down things you have already done so you can cross it off and feel productive.
  • Don’t be afraid to write down “Start my to-do list.” It counts.
  • Keep it with you at all times. Use a notebook small enough to fit in your purse. You never know when you will be sitting in traffic and remember some random phone call you always mean to make, but never get around to doing it.
  • Look at it so often you almost never have time to actually do anything on the list.
  • Do something super important that wasn’t on the list? Write it down and cross it off!
  • Instagram that shit so everyone knows how busy and productive you are.
  • Write an utterly useless blog post about making to-do lists because the post was on your to-do list and you can now cross something off halfway through your Netflix marathon.

You’re welcome! Bye!

JennSig

Caramel Banana Waffles: The Poor Man’s Bananas Foster?

caramelbananawaffles2

Here at the Magnesi household, we call these Bananas Foster. There isn’t actually anything even remotely similar to Bananas Foster, aside from the bananas. It is essentially a way to fatten up an already not healthy meal. Not only can I not cook all that well, but I’m lazy and don’t really want to. So, here are some fancy waffles that only require a few ingredients and virtually no cooking aside from using your toaster.

Ingredients:

  • Frozen Waffles
  • Butter
  • Caramel Syrup (We used Smucker’s)
  • Chopped Peanuts

Directions:

  1. Toast your waffles.
  2. Put butter on them.
  3. Pour caramel syrup.
  4. Top with peanuts.

caramelbananawaffles1

Done. Your family will thank you for the borderline diabetes, and the paper plates really class it up. Yes, my husband is very lucky to have me.

Bye!

JennSig