Hipstercrite Life, Writing

The Freelancer Diet

this stock photo came up when i googled “freelance”- obviously all freelancers are ex-businesspeople whose life choice banished them to walking the desert alone with birds

I’ve discovered the secret to losing ten pounds instantly: become a freelancer and live in constant state of fear.

Last week was my first week ever not working a 9-5.
It was exciting and terrifying and freeing and exhausting.
I’ve been working towards this goal both subconsciously and finally consciously for the past eight years. Now that it is finally here, I’m like, “Dear Mother of God! I’m a woman on the loose!” I enjoy the analogy that @bbrosmarty shared with me: “We liken it to becoming a wild animal. You’re free from the zoo- but you have to find your own dinner.” Does this mean I’ll have to grow my nails out and sharpen my teeth now?

Earlier this year as my freelance writing began to pick up I finally came to the conclusion that these 9-5 office jobs were getting old. Even when I worked in LA, I worked out of an office and I was always having to care for someone or something that in the end I didn’t care much for. My Momma raised me to worry about things like a consistent paycheck and health insurance, so flying solo did not seem like a good option. The terrible posture I was developing from sitting in a chair, the Carpal Tunnel, the poorly circulated pancake ass were all afflictions I told myself that I could deal with. However, when my last job told me I couldn’t freelance write, I very quietly and internally decided then that I was done. No more kidding myself. It has taken me most of my twenties to figure out what the hell I want to do- writing- and I’ll be damned if someone gets in the way of that.

Not having a regimented schedule is confusing. It makes me feel guilty. Not going into an office and waking up at 10AM and working in my underwear is wrong, right? Even though I was glued to my computer all day and every day last week. I was afraid that if I wasn’t working on my computer at least the entire day, than I was seen as lazy. By who? I’m not sure. The little labor elves who tell you that the corporate lifestyle is the only way to go.

Right now I’m sitting on my couch typing this. The front door is open. The sun shines down on my scorched cracked lawn. A rooster crows from behind my house. I just ate a cookie. My boyfriend is still asleep in the other room. He was up until 6AM shooting our feature film. I’m thinking of walking somewhere to get a breakfast taco. I will work on one of my jobs from 1PM to 6PM today. I will not have to drive an hour outside of town to do this. I will not have to say hi to 15 different co-workers. I should be reveling in this, but it’s just too foreign to even comprehend!

I’m learning that it is up to me to create a schedule, to set up some sort of normalcy to my new found freedom. Maybe I try this: Wake up every day at nine. Lauren, you should really go buy a coffee maker. Block the 1st hour for the blog, block the next 4+ hours for your new social media managing and PR gig. Make sure to eat somewhere in that time. Try to break the habit of getting lunch at Whole Foods, ok? Maybe do some stretching? Stop and smell a freakin’ flower while you’re at it. Maybe you should learn yoga? But can you afford to go to yoga with your new income? You know, you’re going to have to set money aside for taxes. What about health insurance? You’re healthy, but you’re not invincible! YOU’RE NOT INVINCIBLE! Block another 2 hours for any freelance writing. Read a book or watch a movie to keep the creative juice flowing. Your writing is starting to sound stale. Make sure you got your good dose of social media lovin’ in today, THEN PUT THE GOD FORSAKEN COMPUTER DOWN, LAUREN! Put it down! Give it to me. You can do it, you can do it. That’s a girl. How does that feel? Do you feel better? Can you even hear me? What’s that glossed over look in your eyes? Are you still thinking about your computer? Are you? ARE YOU?!?

I found this blog, The Anti 9-tp-5 Guide, while Googling “How to Adjust to the Freelance Life” and I can’t wait to dive in. If I learn anything over the next few weeks, I’ll keep you posted. Otherwise, any tips that you have will be helpful so I don’t lose my sheeot.

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  • Reply Riff Dog September 12, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Having been "free lance" for a couple decades now, the one thing I've learned about working for myself is that I love my boss, but my "employee" is one lazy dude.

  • Reply mattwriteswords.com September 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    We're not in exactly the same boat, but we're in adjacent boats traveling in the same direction.

    I've been working the 9-5 for a year here in Austin, even though I came here to work in films and to write. I don't really know how the eff I got caught up in that, but making moves to fix this. Blogging has really helped me to get my head around this stuff.

    I've halved my cost of living in a way that is sustainable and leaves me wanting for nothing (so I won't end up losing my mind and splurging), and after I save a little bit more money, I'm going to start working about 15 hours a week. I figure that this way, I won't have to worry where my money is going to come from, and I'll have the time to write and make films.

    It's time to get my slack on. I'm in Slackerville, after all.

  • Reply Adria September 13, 2011 at 1:14 am

    Don't let yourself feel guilty for waking up a little bit later, or especially for working in your underwear. Do set goals for every day that you make sure you come close to meeting. Other than that, just enjoy. You WILL be okay, because you're smart and you know you have to be okay.

    It's nice to be "free" isn't it?

  • Reply Hipstercrite September 13, 2011 at 2:24 am

    @riff- ha! i like that.

    @matt- good for you! i wish you the best of luck. keep me posted, will you?

    @adria- thank you, adria. it does feel really good. i guess i just have this feeling that the other shoe will drop. i need to shake it or it will hinder me. thanks for your comment.

  • Reply Brooke Farmer September 13, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    You need a definite plan for your mornings. It will be comforting and increase your productivity. I have a deal with myself that as soon as I get up to go to the bathroom I have to start my day. No more "ten more minutes." At that point I have to force myself to get up and start doing something. And yes, some way of making coffee in the comfort of your own home is essential to making this work.

    I am so totally excited for you! Yes, you have to find your own food now, but it's worth it and the universe will help take care of the details if you are doing what you're meant to do.

  • Reply Lacey R. September 13, 2011 at 11:28 pm


    I have the opposite problem. When I graduated from college this May, I sent out what seemed like hundreds of resumes…And heard nothing. I even had face to face interviews, where after two weeks and a thank email took place, I didn't even get a cordial "Thanks, but no thanks."

    Then, I, on a whim (well more like desperation) applied for a part-time graphic design free lance job. I got the job, but really it's my first "big girl" job and the fact that I immediately dove into the freelance pool is FREAKING ME OUT! Now, three months later, I'm hearing from some of the people I assumed had already thrown my resume away. They are offering a 9-5 job in places like Dallas (the concrete capital of TX) doing something that is interesting, but not exciting to me. Honestly, I don't know what do to. At this point in my life I really need the money, but feel like I should be learning for your example.

    Sorry for the long rant, and thank you for writing, I love reading your blog!


  • Reply tennysoneehemingway September 14, 2011 at 4:58 am

    All I'm gonna say is, go girl. You seem like you know exactly what you're doing. Yes, I'm jealous.

  • Reply Your Friendly Barista September 15, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Where is the "Like" button? 🙂

  • Reply Jeanne September 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    My husband has worked freelance in LA in movie production for 20 years. His secret? A rent controlled apartment and a momma who helped him out. 🙂 I know he spent a lot of time on the beach. He was very relaxed.

    Then he found a wife (me) who slaves the 8-5 gig (hating it all the way) but we can't afford to both freelance it! Oh, yeah and I made him move to Fort Worth too. So now I have to let him go back to LA every few months so he doesn't explode.

    I'm jealous! You'll find your groove…

  • Reply Damian September 16, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Have you found that these:
    freelancing sites still feed your non-9-5 belly, or have you tried out others with success?

  • Reply Meg September 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Just found your blog. I am just starting out as a freelancer but I'm also a mother of two. Today, I'm not wearing a bRA And I'm heading to Home Depot to buy materials for building a bench. (Random caps thank to my daughter.)

  • Reply Kate Andreatta October 16, 2011 at 4:42 am

    I have to say, youve got one of the greatest blogs Ive seen in a lengthy time. What I wouldnt give to be capable of build a blog thats as intriguing as this. I guess Ill just have to keep reading yours and hope that one day I can write on a topic with as significantly understanding as youve got on this 1!

    • Reply hipstercrite October 17, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      Thank you for your sweet message!

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