This year is the year I’m going to take a break, you tell yourself.
As a freelance writer, taking a break seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it?
I mean if we don’t work, we don’t get paid.
Time is money for freelance writers.
So, how can you feasibly take a break during the holiday or have a vacation if you’re a freelance writer?
Over the years of writing online for clients, I haven’t taken many breaks or vacations.
In fact, this past summer was our first family road trip and next month I plan on taking a break from my freelance writing work.
And I started freelancing in 2014 so that’s saying something!
But, please don’t feel you HAVE to continually work month after month, year after year.
I chose to work on other projects and not take on a full list of clients making it manageable to continue to write and blog.
But, this year is different. I have four clients as well as my blogs and contributor sites I manage.
Oh, and we also adopted a kitty (which is like a newborn!).
I NEED a break.
I bet you do too, right?
You Need a Break If….
I’m a mom to twins, have several websites, a small team and several clients on my plate.
Oh, and my son has an insane hockey schedule (i.e. during school time and before school time).
And with our new kitten (AKA a newborn it seems), I just can’t handle entertaining family AND client work AND taking care of the kitty.
Something has to give and that’s client work at the moment.
For you it might be different but if you find yourself slowly drowning under all your responsibilities, it’s time to prioritize and let stuff go.
These are the three things that tell you that you need a break.
1. Your Mental Health is Suffering
In one of my emails I mentioned I needed a mental health break from client work.
As I’m getting older, I’m realizing I can only take on so much before I break.
It’s important that I have a healthy mind so that I don’t yell at my kids or husband or that I sleep all day.
When I notice things like that happening, I know I need to change perspectives and focus on my mental health.
I do this by:
- Taking more me-time (walks, baths, reading)
- Doing things I enjoy (watching a show, listening to music, cooking)
- Being present with my family (family game night, attending hockey games and spending time with my twins)
2. Family Needs You
If you feel your family is pulling you at both ends with requests or help, then allow yourself to take a break from client work.
The holidays typically mean being a host or going to your parent’s house and spending a few days there.
Don’t stress about deadlines when you’re at your family’s place! Try to enjoy the time you have with them and be in the moment!
3. You Want/Have to Travel (And Not Work During that Time)
The holiday’s is also a time to travel! If possible, don’t schedule work time during your trip. Who wants to work when traveling?
This is also the time to regroup and reenergize yourself so you are the best self when you come back to writing for your clients.
Don’t Slow Down Your Marketing Though
Taking a break during the holidays means you have to do the upfront initial work before the holidays.
You are pre-planning and continuing to hustle (pitch, pitch, pitch!). Businesses from all over the world still work during the holidays.
Why? Because they may have a break in their festivities or they aren’t celebrating the same holidays as you. In Canada, Thanksgiving is in October so I’m totally available during American Thanksgiving as are other businesses out there.
So, don’t think that no one will answer your pitch if you start your pitching in October or early November.
The point is to prepare for January. Your pitch could be in a marketer’s inbox and they could read it when they are planning content for January.
Boom! You secured work in January!
Let’s look at ways so you can take a break during the holidays as a freelance writer! I’m here for you!
1. Front Load Your Work
To make up the lost income from your break, you need to do some more work in the prior month you will take a break.
You can let your clients know that you plan on taking a break in a month and was wondering if they have more work for you.
If they don’t, find other ways to make some quick cash. One easy way is through Writer Access.
Yes, this is a content mill but you can secure a few hundred dollars over the weekend, and do this for a few weekends to make up some lost income.
And it’s easy to sign up and take their test, and there’s a lot of work once you are accepted.
If that’s not what you want to do (I don’t blame you) then see if you can offer different services to your clients and start cold pitching and looking at job writing boards.
I recently started offering email writing and made $1,500 in a jiffy from that new service.
So, do what works for you. If you don’t want to put the effort into a new service and cold pitching (because this is time consuming and exhaustive) then try job boards and then a content mill job.
2. Prepare Your Email to Clients
Create an email letting your clients know of your time off.
It’s up to you how long your break is. For me, I told some of clients I’m taking the entire November and December off.
This client was appreciative with my honesty.
I appreciate and respect your need to take a break. Thank you for letting me know. I sincerely look forward to picking things up again in January. I enjoy working with you.
So, take the time to be honest, forthcoming and appreciative of working with your client when you draft your taking a break email.
But, this all depends on the client. For my other clients I was more professional.
3. Create a Canned Email
Don’t forget to create a canned email for potential leads that email you.
You can do this easily in Gmail by writing your message and then pressing on the three dots to create a new
4. Conduct Your End of Your Tasks
If you truly want to be off the computer during your holiday break, then start doing your end of year tasks NOW.
This might mean:
- Performing an audit of your business (say goodbye to low-paying clients)
- Automating your email (or creating a canned message) and social media ( I use Tailwind for my Pins)
- Replying to or trashing your emails
- Updating your portfolio
While you can do some of these tasks when you return from your break, you’ll thank yourself when you tackled these prior.
5. Pitch When Your Break is Over
While you should pitch prior to your break to secure work (and BTW it’s okay to tell this new client that you can’t start work until you can – after your break) it’s also a good idea to pitch when you are back to work.
Yes, I know it can be hard and you have no motivation but you gotta do it!
You might want to set up a pitching schedule so you can direct your work by that schedule (i.e. the oneness is on fulfilling that schedule).
This might mean spending 5-10 minutes every day to send cold pitches or LOIs.
If that’s not manageable then opt for 2x or 3x a week.
For my Writeto1k course students, we try to host the Book Clients in 30 Days in the New Year as this is a great motivator to get out there and land work!
It’s Okay If You Don’t Take a Break
For many years I didn’t take breaks.
I was absolutely fine and I didn’t have a lot on my plate.
As well, many of my clients didn’t give me deadlines for my content, which allowed me to take as much time as I wanted to (of course giving myself no more than a month to do the work).
But as I mentioned, as I added more to my plate, I want to take a break and I know I CAN take a break.
For you, if this isn’t possible, space out your work and let your clients know if you need more time!
Let me know in the comments how you are preparing for your holiday break.