Wow, I reached the point where I felt suffocated by the walls of my house the other day. It’s been a nonstop grind going straight from finals into wrapping up a writing project before I launch into the next editorial role, meanwhile plotting for BBB’s relaunch, and hot damn, I’m ready to put down my laptop. I knew I had reached my limit when I had cycled through my extensive tea collection of about 25+ different teas and then yes, oh yes, not even Jon Snow and Minerva could keep me here. So I fled for Starbucks. And that was the right move.
Many freelancers, especially those who are early in their careers, are tempted to stay at home and do the whole quiet hermit thing. It’s cheap, you can put some trashy reality TV on the tube for background noise, and if you get stuck on a sentence you can get up, stretch, and go hug a pet. That’s the picture that many people have of freelancing…that you sit around in your pajamas all day and can go out and not brush your teeth until 3:00. And oh, isn’t that nice. Well, that’s one option. But it’s not how I do it.
Go to any coffee shop, Panera, Starbucks, anywhere with free Wi-Fi really and you’ll see freelancers. Some people are dedicated to going every day at 8:00 and camping out for the day or for a few hours. I kind of forget about it since I usually wait for the summer to go to my town’s cafe once everyone’s gone and it’s dead in there. Plus, I crave quiet. And cats! No one can deny the benefits of having a cat nearby.
But I strongly believe that as freelancers/writers we need to get out. That’s why I love volunteering at the library once a week and being around other people, eavesdropping on people’s thoughts on books, and overall just soaking up human contact.
This is why I challenge every freelancer to add $5.00 to their weekly budget for a year and call it the Coffee Fund. For $5 a week ($260 a year) you could manage a decent sized beverage and possibly a refill and be rewarded with a refreshing dip into the world of Life Outside The Home. Guys, get out there. Interact with people. Remember the power of human interaction, even if it’s just shooting the breeze about connecting to Wi-Fi. Cats are great, but they can’t talk back.