With the internet having taken over basically everyone’s life, freelancing is a viable career option for more and more of us out there. But in my struggle to actually make enough to eat and pay rent I have come across a serious of emotional states that strongly resemble the 5 stages of grief we all know so well. Unfortunately, unlike the stages of grief, these will affect your life on a never-ending rollercoaster of elation and despair. Enjoy!
Stage 1: Denial
This is the part where you vigorously apply for basically every job you find. Send articles to a hundred different publishers and track all of your glorious dedication in a well-designed Excel spreadsheet. Wake up early, shower, and get to it. I will make it happen! The power of positive thinking is spewing from your pores. Just keep working and keep submitting and someone is bound to publish or hire you eventually, right? Right???
Stage 2: Anger
Frustration Slash Totally Giving Up
When all those offers start to never pour in, you take a break. I can watch seven hours of television today, after all I worked so hard last week. It’s 2 A.M. on Monday night you say? Sure, I’ll have another glass of wine. It’s not like I have to get up early or anything. Of course, the following morning you’re too hungover to do anything productive, but you will definitely get back to it on Wednesday. Probably. Maybe. Wait, what day is it?
Stage 3: Bargaining
Inventing Things to Make You Feel Productive
So, you’ve been sleeping in until 11 and haven’t written anything in a week. But there are always things to be done! It’s been too long since I washed the duvet cover and I’ve been meaning to clean the hair out of the drain in the bathtub. I’ve never made a stew before either, that should take up an afternoon. Man, these minor household chores sure make me feel like a slightly more legitimate human being.
Stage 4: Depression
Look for Real Jobs That Aren’t at All What You Want to Do
You’ve accepted your lack of success as a freelancer, but there are still other jobs out there! Time to hit the job postings and see what else you can do. This is the part where you remember your soulless corporate job that slowly killed you every day for five years and to which you vowed you would never return. Give up the job hunt and begin binge watching Season 2 of Orange is the New Black. Showers and pants are a distant memory.
Stage 5: Acceptance
Admit You Have No Idea What You’re Doing
You’ve now come to terms with the fact that a 9-to-5 is never in your future. You’ve also come to terms with what you smell like after a week without showering. You still sleep until 11 but you write one last article and dust off the Excel spreadsheet knowing that this one, this one will be the one. When it finally gets accepted and you have written a real, live, published article, you remember why you wanted to be a writer in the first place. Commence sending submissions to every publication you can find (see stage 1).
Lather, rinse, repeat.