Tis the season to be sick.
I’ve been a freelance writer for two years and a mother for almost four years. And guess what? I’ve been sick only twice during this time and three times in my entire life.
Now, when I say sick I don’t mean going to the hospital with IVs or having some emergency in the middle of the night. No. I just mean the flu. But, hell, the flu kicks butt and it literally zaps the life out of you.
And now that I have twins, I’m waiting for them to get sick. My son already has a fever. My husband – bless him for working from home – took care of all of us and now is becoming sick.
Now as mom, you just can’t get sick. It’s like an unwritten rule once you become a mom. But, what if you’re a mom and a freelance writer? Not only do you have a house and kids to take care of, but also clients with deadlines.
Typically the hella sick that comes with fevers and vomiting and other things (ahem) usually springs up with no indication. I was sitting in my makeshift office typing a blog post when I noticed my hands were like ice. I couldn’t type because my hands were so dang cold.
Then suddenly, nauseousness. This led to the bathroom and all the food I ever ate came out in that time! Sorry! But yeah I was totally sick.
I stopped early and covered myself with a million blankets and convinced myself it was just food poisoning. It’ll go away now that I expelled it all out of my system, right?
Well no. It’s been over 24 hours and I’ve barely ate anything and am just drinking water, but finally, my fever is gone. I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m weak and I can’t push myself too much. Tomorrow the rest of my family will be sick so I will be tending to them.
But, as a freelance writer, what the heck do you do when you are that sick and you have deadlines coming up (are soon)? Here are the six things I did so that I don’t miss out on deadlines and still got better.
1. Took Time to Rest
The first thing you gotta do is rest. Give up and lay down. Let the fever take over before you take Tylenol. This will rapidly make you better when the fever does the job it’s suppose to do.
When I was first hit, I stopped working. In the morning, I slept till 10 am and tried to help around the house. I did a load of dishes and still helped my twins with certain things like their potty. But, after that I was spent. I had to admit that I wasn’t better and I still had to rest.
So take it easy and sleep.
2. Don’t Look at Your Email
Seriously. Turn it off. You don’t want the headache of people reaching out to you. You can wait a day or two and the world won’t explode online.
Remember that you don’t work for your clients. You work with them. So don’t feel pressured to have to be always online or attentive with your emails. If you are worried, though, muster some power and create an auto message that you’re “out of the office.”
3. Don’t Push Things Until the Deadline
I’m bad at this. I tend to push things until the deadline is soon and then I work on my projects. But, I’m getting better. Since a lot of my deadlines are at the end of the month, I have the beginning of the month to tackle my personal projects and client work.
I’m sick in the beginning of the month so I don’t have anything major that’s due right now. But this doesn’t mean I don’t have work to still do. Research, newsletters, updating my course, interacting with my new students and all the other little things a solopreneur does with their biz.
In your business, make sure you start on your projects sooner than later.
4. If You Can Sit Up, Write
Last year, the whole family got the NoroVirus. This can happen when you have kids. The parents get hella sick. During that time there was a pressing deadline and I HAD to get it done. So, when I could actually sit up, I wrote. Yes, I was light headed and dizzy, but I did it.
I didn’t want to email the client right before the deadline and say I’m sick. The project was almost done and I just had a couple of things I had to refine it, so even if I was feeling out of it, I still did it.
It’s up to you how you feel and the work you have, but if you can sit up for a bit, get your head in your work and do a little writing.
I’m not 100% and I’m writing this blog post. Hopefully it makes sense? 🙂
5. Consider Outsourcing
Now, if you have looming deadlines, it might be a good idea to start outsourcing aspects of your projects. This can be researching, outlining and the first draft of a post. Outsourcing can help you write more too (when you’re not laying on your death bed sick as a dog).
Some of my course students are at the point in their business that they have a full plate of work but want to start picking up higher paying clients. Well, you can start outsourcing some parts of your work so you have time to take higher-paying clients.
And when you have some writers in your network, they can help you get out of a pickle if you’re totally sick.
6. Ask for An Extension
Okay. There are some times when you just have to ask for an extension. But, only do this if the deadline is in three-to five days – not the next day.
For example, even though I’m almost better, I’m not 100% and my children will probably be sick tomorrow. If I had a deadline in the next five days, you bet I would be emailing the client and ask if I can turn it in a week later.
You’re Not Going to Lose a Client When You’re Sick
Hey, I know.
Your fear is that you get super sick and you lose a client, or all of them. I hear ya, but I’m pretty sure that won’t happen (unless you have a client that isn’t human). People understand and if they want your best work, you have to be at your best capacity.
Now it’s your turn – tell me how you handle your freelance writing work when your hella sick.