The stages of freelance writing guilt

I really should pitch another publication before bed.

Or browse through some Craigslist job offerings one last time.

Or UpWork, even though the pay is so insulting, I weep.

Even though it’s 1 AM, and my eyes hurt, and I’ve already worked 13 hours today.

But is 13 enough? I mean, I sleep for eight hours, right? That means there are three more hours in the day I could be using on top of my 13.

Or I could sleep less, and work more. I can get by with five hours. Maybe four.

Okay I’ll send a pitch to Outside Online before I open my book to do some reading.

Except I know I’ll read for like two minutes before I fall asleep.

It’s funny that you’re supposed to read a lot to write better, but there’s no time to actually read.

And I haven’t written in my journal in a week.

And also, I haven’t checked my Facebook in five minutes and I’m pretty sure I forgot to respond to that random post on my wall by that person I don’t really know but accepted as a friend anyway because we had 160 mutual connections with other writers, the majority of whom I’ve never met.

Oh look, another friend request from another blogger. I give them one hour before they invite me to “like” their page. It makes my blood boil, because I like making my own decisions, dammit. Stop selling. But oh I just noticed you haven’t liked my page either. So it’s all good.

I wonder what’s on

Or what’s FuckJerry up to on Instagram?

Oh and I forgot to respond to that invitation to see that band I love on Tuesday night. Except I know I’ll drink and be too unproductive the morning after, even though I CAN work on Saturday but that doesn’t matter because even though I quit the 9-5 specifically so I could make my own choices (like when to move my work days around) I still feel inexplicably guilty for taking a weekday off.

Even if I do work on Saturday. And probably Sunday.

And like I know I received 50 emails today from PR people who think I’m interested in the colour of the toilet paper that Brad Pitt uses to wipe his ass with in addition to the 100 emails from people asking me to promote their products for free but I really should respond to some of them, at least.

Karma is a bitch and I hate being rude.

There’s this email that callously says “our exposure would be a great asset to your website” as if I need all that exposure, as if I don’t realise you’ve worded your proposition so that it seems like you’re not actually asking ME to do work for YOU. But because I’m sometimes nice I’ll write back with a few exclamation marks to say, sorry!! I’ve got a full plate! Thanks for the opportunity!!!

Exposure! Do you know what I had for dinner yesterday? (Speaking of full plates.) A tin of beans, because I’m fucking broke and I’m still waiting on that cheque from that article I wrote last year. I won’t keep pressing the client though because I want to work with them in the future and beggars can’t be choosers.

But I still have to update my LinkedIn page. And schedule some tweets, and remember to put out some Instagram posts. I should take a walk so maybe I can find something interesting for Instagram. I don’t really need fresh air but Instagram needs an image. Online appearances are vital for building my online brand.

Ugh, and there are a few freelance jobs to apply for. So I have to rewrite a resume and cover letter for those, plus they requested three trial articles without any promise of payment. So. I’m also supposed to upload a video introduction and recite the Rime of the Ancient Mariner from memory, assumably because there are so many freelance writers vying for the position and these employers like to have a little fun with their potential employees.

Do I have enough money for rent this month? And savings? And retirement? I should probably write another story.

Except what can I write about, if I’m not actually doing anything…



  • February 19 2016

    I can’t with all the blogger friend requests. If I don’t know you or you don’t message me to tell me who you are, we’re not friends.
    Caroline Eubanks recently posted…An Afternoon in Brooklyn

    • February 26 2016


  • February 19 2016

    oh dear. Not envying some of those problems. Good post though – it’s a really revealing take on the life of a freelancer. It’s not a bed of roses….

    • February 26 2016

      Most definitely not! Gotta take the bad with the good, I suppose.

  • February 19 2016

    Oh, I feel you. I’m sat here feeling guilty about not working on a Saturday! Ugh.

    • February 26 2016

      I have to totally work all weekend because I didn’t do a lick of work all week. Sigh.

  • February 22 2016


    • February 26 2016


  • February 23 2016

    Yes, yes YES!!!
    Everything in this post is so true.
    The guilt I’ve been feeling, especially this past week, is so strong.

    I keep telling myself to stop being so hard on myself. But, how can I not be?
    Brooklyn recently posted…Amazing Things To Do In New York City

    • February 26 2016

      SO hard. There’s always more and more and more…

  • February 23 2016

    Yes, yes, yes. I just want to READ like three whole pages in a book without suddenly snapping out of the story with this sinking sensation that I should to be online, doing something more productive than expanding my mind with literature. Ugh.
    Britany recently posted…How Writers Should Work Like New Yorkers Walk

    • February 26 2016

      Hahaha right??! That’s why I started doing reading challenges

  • March 01 2016

    This could very well describe my day, too. Possible addition… Writing an angry email when an editor goes MIA for over six months after assigning me an article. I save it as a draft, go back and rewrite it because I remember “karma,” that I like to be nice, and would like to keep working with them (albeit more frequently than at their leisure). Then, best case scenario, an email drops in after half a year asking for edits over the weekend. “Put some narration on the video and back to me by Monday, because you’re a writer and I know you didn’t have plans other than to work.”

    • March 02 2016

      Hahahaha. I’ve only had this happen to me once, with a maaaaajor news site. I wanted to scream.

  • March 12 2016

    Love this. Those waves of guilt as a freelance writer are no joke!
    Julia recently posted…Adventures and Eats: February 2016

    • March 15 2016

      For reals!

  • March 13 2016

    A good post to read. I remember those feelings and days. Freelance writing drove me round the bend sometimes. I am one of those people who added you on FB and then missed you when you were in Sligo! Safe travels – Hope you find a consistent client to work with soon

    • March 15 2016

      Thanks, Adam! Where in the world are you now? I hope to be back in Sligo this year :)

  • September 24 2016

    It shouldn’t be so funny because it’s so effing sad, but this is hilarious. Especially the “our product is a great opportunity for YOU” emails. Love those.

    • September 27 2016


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