Friday, July 3, 2009

The danger of burnout

Be careful what you wish for. Two months ago, I was desperate for work. My very best print-magazine client had stopped assigning freelance stories. One other had gone out of business, and a third was moving from a monthly publication to one published just six times a year.

So I started grabbing whatever I could to make up the difference.

That included two content-writing gigs for two different publishers. One would pay me $300 a month. The second, $350 a month. It didn't equal one assignment from my formerly top print client, but at least it helped.

Until now. These two assignments are dragging me down. They're a lot of work -- basically, I'm producing a package of content stories every week for both publishers -- and take up more time than they deserve. And now that I've secured a new print-magazine client -- one focusing on healthcare, so it's strong -- and some writing for a trivia book that will basically let me take on as much work as I want, I'm finding it difficult to keep up with the content-producing work for these other clients.

The problem is, I'm not willing to give up the work just yet. There's no guarantee that another slow month isn't just around the corner. My wife is going back to school, which means for the first time we'll be paying for childcare this fall. We need to sock away as much money as possible.

So for now, I'll continue working the late nights pounding away at nonsensical stories about dating, collectible coins minted in Canada and pinup artists. It's a living -- sorta' -- and, burnout or not, I'm thankful that I at least have enough writing work to pay my mortgage, our other bills and take a rare trip to the movies.

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