Are you always fretting that you’ll miss a freelance writing deadline? Do you often procrastinate about even starting work in case the finished product isn’t up to scratch?
Yeah, me too.
I wasn’t conscious of it for a while, but when I have a lot of freelance writing work on, I always imagine that I’m not going to manage it all on time.
I also often procrastinate about starting a new piece of work because, you know, it may not reach utter perfection. It may, but it may not. (And how can I start a new project knowing that?!)
Here’s the twist…
The weird thing is, I’ve never missed a deadline in my entire life. Not once. Never ever.
Also, far from reporting that my work isn’t up to scratch, clients only ever have the highest praise for what I deliver.
So what gives? What evidence is there – past or present – that has led me to imagine I’m going to miss my writing deadlines, or deliver crap work?
The answer is (of course): There is no evidence. Not an iota of it. And even if there were, it would certainly be disproportionate to the amount of time and energy I feed this fear with.
What to do if you’re scared of missing freelance writing deadlines
If you ever dread deadlines, convince yourself you’ll never meet them, and/or procrastinate about starting your freelance writing projects in the first place, here’s a piece of advice this writer had to tell herself in order to quit all that fretting and worrying:
Stop making things up!
You missing a writing deadline or delivering a sub-par piece of work to a client is an imaginary scenario your mind has simply dreamt up. It doesn’t exist in anything remotely resembling what we call reality.
You can’t deal with that scenario right now precisely because it doesn’t exist (and probably never will), and that’s what’s causing all the underlying anxiousness.
Stop projecting yourself into an imaginary future. Deal with the work you’re doing right now, and drop all that imaginary stuff.
(Here are some other things I wish I’d known when I first started freelance writing.)
The problem with forward-thinking
Sure you can plan and work towards something – there’s nothing wrong with setting a goal and moving towards it – but none of us really know where we’re going to end up.
Life throws curve balls at us all the time.
If you keep making up imaginary scenarios about missing deadlines and other horrible stuff, you’re not fully engaged with the work you’re doing in the moment.
If your energy and focus is more on imaginary future scenarios than it is on your freelance writing work, then that work is going to suffer.
How can the fullest extent of your creativity come through when most of your energy is not even focused on what you’re doing?
Plus, if you don’t fully engage – and even enjoy – the step you’re at in this moment, you’ll never reach where it is you want to be.
Because when you get there you’ll make up another story for yourself in a mind-made future. (Whether it be missing another deadline or something a bit more pleasant.) Guess what? That future doesn’t exist either.
So do your level best, get on with the task in hand and, above all else, see if you can really enjoy it.
Enjoy my life and freelance writing business as it is now? In this exact moment (of all moments)? Right here and now?
I know – sounds crazy when you think it out loud, doesn’t it?
PS: To learn how to go from beginner to highly-paid freelance writer, get a load of the bestselling Freelance Writers Online course.
Image courtesy of Nelly Volkovich.