••• The International Writers Magazine - 23 Years on-line - Freelance Writers
Balancing Freelance Writing and Graduate School
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If you are a freelance writer that loves to craft the perfect story and you are also attending graduate school classes, then you are likely a very wise and well-informed individual, but you are probably also extremely busy. Building a freelance career takes time but so does school because you are likely learning a specialty that will land you a fulfilling career in the future.
Balance is key when you are trying to write and attend graduate school, and the good news is that there are many tips that you can utilize to easily add that balance into your daily life. Let’s talk about the benefits of writing while attending grad school and tips to manage your time and money so you can succeed in both of your passions.
Scheduling is Key
With so much on your plate, your priority must be to plan ahead and schedule your time wisely. To start, go to your instructors and get the syllabus for the semester and review it while paying special attention to when big projects, presentations, and other busy periods will distract you from your writing. Make sure not to take on any new writing clients or extra freelance work during those periods, or you will inevitably falter on one of those responsibilities.
Huge school assignments aside, you should also think about your day-to-day course load. Graduate school can take up a lot of time, so if you don’t have huge chunks of your day available for writing, then you will want to think about the general types of writing assignments or clients you will accept. If you feel super busy all of the time, then you might consider taking lighter freelance work that doesn’t involve advanced research and travel. That way, you can write sections of your articles while you are waiting for class to start.
As an expert tip, always bring your laptop in your school bag in case you get an opportunity to write.
You should also think about possible ways that you can connect school and your freelance writing because one could help the other. For example, if you are going for your Master’s in business, then you could seek out business blogs that need writers, and you could do your freelance work for them because you will be an expert in that field. Since every different type of company in the world needs some sort of copy completed for their websites, you are sure to find a client that you can write for using the lessons that you learned at school.
Find Time to Write
Even if some students have a passion for writing, they may put their freelance career to the wayside because they feel that they just don’t have the time necessary to dedicate to their craft. However, if you really think about what you do during your day on an hourly basis, you are certain to find some tasks that you could modify or eliminate to make room for writing. Doing so may just take some sacrifices.
For instance, if your routine is to sleep in and wake up 15 minutes before class so you can head right out the door, then consider waking up earlier in the morning or going to bed later at night and designate that as your freelance time. Just don’t sacrifice the time you need to study. If it is hard to wake up in the morning, then you just may need to get better sleep. To doze off easier and wake up refreshed, make it a point to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning, even on weekends, as that will improve your circadian rhythm.
Think about the other things that you are doing in your free time that you could sacrifice for your writing. Do you spend hours combing social media? If it is for research or to market your newest blog, then that is one thing, but if you are just on Facebook to waste time until your next class, then consider using that time for writing. The same goes for watching television. If you find yourself in front of the TV more than you would like, then you may have more time for your freelance career than you realize.
While you may not want to sacrifice the feeling of going to graduate school on a physical campus, if you are making major strides in your freelance writing, then you may want to consider taking online classes. Technology has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, and you can now get the same education that you would in person while you are at home via video lectures and group activities through instant messaging. Online learning eliminates the need for a commute which frees up more time for your writing.
Since you are balancing graduate school with a part-time job, it is okay to kick back and enjoy yourself every once in a while. One way you can mix business and pleasure is by listening to your favorite music while you write or watch a nature show on TV, which can be very therapeutic. If you love going out and spending time with people, then consider finding some friends that also enjoy writing and you can hang out with them at the library or a park and do what you like most while you’re together.
Be Careful With Money
While a lot of effort will go into balancing your time, you will also need to make sure that you are being smart with your money. The great thing about having a writing career is that you can make money for grad school. With your classes, cost of living, textbooks, and a slew of other costs, the price of school can add up quickly. While you can take out additional student loans if necessary, if you are sticking with your writing because it can pay for a portion of your schooling, then you need to look at what you are charging your clients.
When it comes to setting your rates, think about the percentage of your school costs that you hope to pay with your writing and determine how much you will need at the end of each month. Then, break that down into a per-word or per-article rate and set that in stone with your new clients. Make sure that you also add the time it will take to complete your articles into the equation.
Even with this extra money, budgeting will be essential. Take some time to write out how much you are making from freelancing and then compare that with every single expense that you pay each month at school, including tuition and room and board. Don’t forget the little things that are easy to forget, like the money you spend on those streaming services and your daily coffee runs. This budget will tell you how much you can spend while staying on top of your finances. Just make sure to stick to the budget and update your numbers whenever something changes.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can properly balance graduate school with your emerging writing career. Follow the tips above, don’t be too hard on yourself, and properly manage your time, and you can have the best of both worlds.
© Indiana Lee 1.13.22
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