This month we sat down with Scripted writer Matthew T. to discuss life as a freelancer in the Covid-19 era.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I've been writing freelance for about 12 years. Before that, I always wrote, but I rarely published or tried to sell anything. Now, it's my primary source of income. I also love cooking, gardening, and listening to music. As long as I have books and music, I feel pretty okay!
Where are you from and where are you operating currently?
I'm from Louisville. I've lived here for most of my life. It's small enough to be affordable but big enough that we have an excellent orchestra and a lot of great restaurants.
How did you become a freelance writer and how have you been writing for Scripted?
I had a media job that I hated. It was boring; I wasn't learning anything; and I earned a little less every year because the owners had bad priorities. I didn't know I would become a freelance writer when I left. I just knew I had to get out of that situation before anything would improve. As my savings dwindled, I started picking up writing jobs. Eventually, I had a list of clients that wanted content regularly.
I had to look at the legacy system to see how long I've been working with Scripted. I submitted my first job on Jul 2, 2014. It's hard to believe that it's been that long!
So much has changed since then. The world has changed considerably in the last month. How has it impacted you as a freelancer?
Probably a lot less than it has impacted employees. I'm already used to working from home. The biggest change is that my wife works from home now. It's a minor disruption compared to what a lot of people are experiencing.
Do you anticipate any changes to the freelancing landscape as a result of the spread of Covid-19?
My guess is that more companies are going to realize that they can save money by hiring remote workers, whether they're freelancers or employees. I've already seen a lot of friends lose their jobs. I'm glad that I have multiple income sources. Freelancers will probably struggle, but we have the opportunity to branch out and get work from diverse clients.
Do your best to stay connected with your existing contacts. If they have to move to new businesses, you want them to remember that they can rely on you. There are opportunities during economic downturns, but it will take a lot of work to maintain those relationships.
How have you been able to balance your work as a freelancer with the rest of your life?
Not as well as I should! I rarely turn down work unless it pays an insulting amount of money. I'm eager to work with new clients because I enjoy learning new things. I have a very low-tech system that helps me reach my daily goals. Each day includes meditation, some form of exercise, and reading a printed book. Even when I work more than I should, I know that my day will include activities that help me stay balanced.
What tips would you recommend for writers who are new to working from home?
Treat it like a regular job. Get up in the morning, put on clothes, and head to a designated spot in your home where you work. If you let yourself get up late and work in your pajamas from the couch, you'll develop bad habits that make it harder for you to get into "work mode" when you need to. Ideally, have a comfortable office in your home with a desk, good screen, and ergonomic chair. You may not be able to start that way, but you should set those things as goals if you plan on working from home full time.
Also, find music that keeps you motivated and drowns out neighborhood sounds. I listen to a lot of jazz, classical, ambient, and noise when I write. I can't listen to anything with lyrics or I end up singing along.
Is there anything you’d like to plug?
My Scripted profile is the best way to reach me to talk about writing projects. I have a website, but I post inconsistently. You might like it if you want to read about my garden and the books I'm reading. If you want to talk about non-blogging projects, tell me about your favorite album, share a book, or exchange heirloom seeds send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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