MAR 24 2022    
Remote Work: How To Survive as a Freelancer During COVID
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Remote Work: How To Survive as a Freelancer During COVID

Disclosure: Opinions, camping practices, and experiences expressed with articles posted here or otherwise via user-generated content posted elsewhere on this site are solely the authors’ and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, camping practices, or experiences of this website or Camping Tools, Inc.

The pandemic has changed the way we interact with the world as well as the way we work. Many people have switched from a regular Monday to Friday 9 to 5 work week for more freelance work or gig work. But can we make a living writing? And what can we do to survive as a freelancer during such challenging times? 

I started as a freelance writer approximately a year before the first lockdown in Canada, so I had already begun to adjust to remote work. However, I suddenly lost access to my social connections and my primary sources of self-care. I quickly realized the need to readjust my self-care plan and work routine to ensure I would survive as a freelancer. 

I have always been passionate about writing. I find it's the best way to express myself, and I saw how my words could positively influence others. 

My focus as a freelance writer is on educating others on topics that impact me personally or that excite me. Seeing how my writing affects others is what continues to inspire me to write. I've also found writing about writing has helped me be more intentional with the writing process. It also helps me make concrete plans for writing sustainability and my health and wellness as a freelance writer. 

I am lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest, where I am surrounded by an incredible amount of natural beauty. I've always loved being in nature. The further I get into freelance writing, the more I realize how a connection with nature helps me survive as a freelancer. So, it's natural for me to be drawn to writing about the outdoors and a website like Camping Tools

Camping Tools provides freelance writers with an opportunity to share their experience and write about what they love - camping and the great outdoors. 

Tips on How to Survive as a Freelancer During COVID

There are a few things to consider when it comes to surviving as a freelancer during COVID and in the remote work environment. The first is maintaining mental health and wellness, the second is maintaining optimism and finding inspiration as a writer. It's more than making a living writing; it's about creating a healthy life. 

COVID has made these things challenging for many people, making many of us think we can't survive as a freelancer. For me, getting outdoors has made a significant difference, and it has inspired me to share my experience and wisdom with others. I want to help you survive as a freelancer and thrive in a remote work environment. 

Maintaining Mental Health and Wellness with Remote Work 

It can be challenging to maintain your mental health and wellness with remote work, especially as a freelance writer, because the boundaries between work life and home life are blurred. Here are some tips on ways to help maintain a work-life balance to help you survive as a freelancer. 

Set Up An Effective Remote Work Environment

What is effective as a remote work environment can differ from person to person, but there are a few things that can be key to maintaining balance. 

If possible, keep your workspace separate from spaces where you relax. When you spend a significant amount of time engaging in an activity in a particular area, your brain begins to associate that space with that activity. (This is why experts say to not engage in other activities like watching TV in bed to avoid sleep problems). 

So, if you have the space to have a separate office, that's great. If not, set up a desk space where you can engage in work and step away from during breaks. 

It's also essential to keep your workspace organized and free of distractions. 

Think Outside the Box When it Comes to Remote Work Environment

Being creative with your workspace can help you survive as a freelancer. As freelance writers, we work for ourselves and have the opportunity to set up our remote work environment however we'd like. Why not consider an outdoor space?

If you have a patio, this could be a great place to set up for work, especially in the spring and summer. Depending on your space, you may even be able to set up a small desk area. 

You could even consider setting up a workspace at a local park with picnic tables. The change of environment can help inspire you, and the travel to the park helps kick start your day. Though you will want to consider the fact that there are different distractions in this type of remote work environment. (Consider planning to take a break to enjoy the scenery or play with some dogs). 

Camping as a Remote Work Environment 

Since we are already getting creative with our remote work space and looking for ways to get inspired, why not go entirely outside of the box and take your work to the great outdoors? Let's take our freelance writing camping. 

If you already have everything you need for camping, why not take yourself on a freelance writing camping adventure. 

Consider the space you're writing in and the tools you will need. Do you want to set up at one end of the picnic table? Or do you want a dedicated writing chair? Are you thinking about bringing your laptop or other electronics? Or will you be writing with a pen and paper? 

I typically use camping to find inspiration as a freelance writer. So, I bring a pen and notebook and do two specific things. One, at the end of the notebook, I make a running list of ideas of things I'd like to write about. Two, I spend the first hour of every morning writing on one of these topics. 

Set Healthy Boundaries with Remote Work

With freelance writing, you feel like you're constantly searching for new writing projects, so it can be hard to turn off because you want to make a living writing. To survive as a freelancer and maintain your mental wellness, it can be helpful to set a work schedule and limit your work to these times. 

Engaging in activities at the beginning and end of your workday that signal to your brain you are switching activities can help to set these boundaries.

It can be helpful to have a routine to start off your day, ideally, one that includes getting dressed for the workday (it doesn't have to be office attire, but it's best not to work in your pj's). 

Something I love to do is go for a morning coffee walk. It not only forces me to put on clothes, but it also helps get my brain and body moving and get the creative juices flowing. It also exposes me to sunlight and nature - which is good for the sleep-wake cycle. This could also involve the process of moving to your remote work space at the park. 

In the evening, remove yourself from your workspace and engage in an activity that helps you switch gears from work and let go of the day's stresses. This could include going for a walk, doing yoga, or even simply having a shower and changing your clothes. 

Setting Boundaries When Using Camping for Remote Work

If you're taking your remote work camping, you definitely need to think about setting boundaries between work and fun. 

It may be easy to balance writing time with time for adventures to find inspiration if you go by yourself. 

If you go with others, you will want to take more time to consider balance. As you would at home, consider the times you want to dedicate to writing and the time for breaks. If you're like me, rising early when camping is the best. You can enjoy your morning coffee with the sounds of nature before anyone else gets up. So, this is also the best time for me to write. 

Tip: Keeping work emails off your personal phone can help you maintain boundaries. 

Take Adequate Breaks to Survive as a Freelancer

The brain and the body both require breaks. Not taking them can impact your ability to focus and your overall effectiveness at work. In many office environments, breaks are scheduled, but it can be easy to forget to take breaks or even eat when you're at home (at least for me). To survive as a freelancer, you need to schedule your own breaks. 

Block out time in your calendar for a meal break and set a timer to remind yourself to get up and walk around (most of us aren't doing this enough). 

I have two suggestions for how to use your break time:

  1. Get outside. Take a walk. Go for a hike. Listen to the water. Observe nature doing its thing. 
  2. Do some easy at-home tasks that can help relieve stress during off-work hours. For example, doing the dishes, taking out the trash, or doing the laundry. These tasks get you out of your workspace, away from your screen, and when you're finished work, so are some of your chores so you can spend more time relaxing. 

Tip: Don't scroll social media during your breaks. Social media doesn't provide a mental or emotional break, it's unhelpful to look at a screen during breaks, and it's too easy to be sucked in and overextend your break. 

Get Support From Other Freelance Writers

Freelance work can be challenging, and it has a unique set of challenges that people in other work settings don't necessarily understand. 

You have to work to obtain all your freelance writing opportunities, set your own work hours, and set up a healthy and sustainable remote work environment. You have to stay organized to maintain multiple ongoing writing projects, work with various remote teams, and stay on top of invoicing. On top of that, freelance writers still need to find inspiration and creativity. 

Connect with other freelance writers who understand the work and help you maintain balance, and provide you with emotional support. To survive as a freelancer, we need to support each other. 

Take Time to Recharge

Taking adequate breaks during the workday is essential, and so is taking time to recharge during off-hours (evenings, weekends, etc.). 

It's easy to worry about work during off-hours no matter what field we work in. Freelance writers may be worried about where the next project will come from, how to manage your to-do list or balance multiple projects, or concerned about that one unpaid invoice.

What activities can give your brain the break you need to survive as a freelancer? 

You may watch your favourite movie or TV show, immerse yourself in a good book, do some yoga, or have a relaxing bath. But sometimes these activities aren't enough. Consider getting outside. 

Nature is a great natural healer and can help us reconnect with ourselves. Going out for a walk or sitting in a park can be enough to help relieve stress, but where the big difference comes in is when we can completely escape into nature. 

Engaging in outdoor activities allows me to disconnect from technology and helps me reconnect with nature and myself in a healing way. The best activities, for me, are hiking and camping. Camping provides a unique opportunity to disconnect from my day-to-day and from technology (I specifically try to get out of cell service area). 

Survive as a Freelancer: Finding Inspiration as a Freelance Writer During Difficult Times

What are the best ways to find inspiration as a freelance writer? Get out of your office or remote work space and experience the world. Live your life, don't just sit at your computer looking at a blank page. 

Being inside all day can be stifling. Simply getting outside for a short walk to be exposed to sunlight and a breath of fresh air can help to kick start your brain. Even better if you can connect with nature at a local park or trail. 

Feeling stuck? Getting outside can bring you a sense of calm and help smooth your frazzled nerves so you can return to your writing feeling refreshed and inspired. 

I started my writing career as a poet and found I did some of my best writing via voice notes when I walked around my neighbourhood. It helped my brain slow down and simply observe the world around me. Now, as a freelance writer, I take every opportunity I can to get outside to find inspiration. I am definitely one of those freelance writers who almost always has a notebook in my bag. 

Survive as a Freelancer: Finding Work or Topics to Write About

There are two main things to consider when figuring out how to survive as a freelancer. The first is your personal skills for writing and what topics you're interested in or expert in. The second is where you can find jobs related to your specific area of interest. 

Finding Work as a Freelance Writer

There are numerous ways of finding work as a freelance writer in content creation and copywriting. The most common ways to find work as a freelance writer are job boards, professional social networks, and pitching directly to online publications. Determining the best way to find remote work will help you make a living writing. 

Job boards such as Indeed and Glassdoor are great places to find writing jobs, and with both, you can set up job alerts based on specific keyboards (freelance writer, content writer, etc.). There is also a blogging-specific job board called ProBlogger

Professional social networks like LinkedIn are also a great place to find work opportunities, particularly since you can provide your portfolio and get people you've worked with to write reviews. 

Know that just like applying for other types of jobs or trying to get published as an author or poet, you're likely to get a lot of rejections before getting a few opportunities. Don't let this get you down. You will survive as a freelancer if you keep at it. 

Finding Work in Camping or Outdoor Niches

If you're as eager as me to write about camping and outdoors, there are many ways of finding writing opportunities within this niche. 

First, consider the many different types of content that fit within this niche. This could include product reviews, product round-ups (top 10 list, for example), personal stories, blogs, how-to guides, e-books, etc.  

Second, consider where to pitch or apply. You can set up alerts on professional websites like Indeed or LinkedIn or search for specific keywords on job boards. You can also find websites discussing the topic you want to write about or selling products related to this niche and pitch ideas directly to them.  

Camping Tools provides freelance writers with an opportunity to share their experience and write about what they love - camping and the great outdoors. 

Can You Make a Living Writing?

Yes. You can make a living writing if you put in the time to improve your skills and find opportunities that are well suited to your skillset. 

That being said, you don't have to turn everything you do into a money-making opportunity. Many people enjoy writing for themselves or their community and are satisfied with that outcome. But if you want to make a living writing, you definitely can. 

If you enjoy the outdoors, you can simply start your own blog or post on social media about your personal experience and build your own community. 

Summary: How to Survive as a Freelancer

Working from home and freelance work can be challenging, but if you take the time to approach the work with intention, have a realistic mindset, and work hard, you can survive as a freelance writer and make a living writing. Don't forget to be intentional about your workspace and the amount of time you spend working. And pay particular attention to maintaining your mental health to avoid burnout. 

Take time away from your desk, get outside to reconnect with nature to recharge your body and mind, and get inspired to write. It doesn't have to be a long hike or a big camping trip; it could simply be lying down in the park and watching the clouds. Find what works best for you, and you will not only survive as a freelancer, you'll thrive. 

If you're ready to plan your next camping adventure, start your planning with Camping Tools! Not only can you plan your trip and share your memories, but you can connect with community members and learn from others. 

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