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Near, far, near, far

Posted by on October 3, 2007

I’ve been freelancing for a little over a year now, and I’ve decided that the toughest part of this job is measuring my own progress.

In admin work, it’s easy. You judge your day’s success based on whether or not you reacted to things. When the copier broke down today, did you fix it, or did you not fix it? Only one answer indicates a successful day.

Working for myself, not so easy to judge. If I apply for three jobs in a day, that could be considered good. Or I could remember that there were two job boards I didn’t even look at: bad. Maybe I wrote two article drafts and emailed my editor: good. But if I also watched three episodes of Buffy, was it still a productive day?

I’ve never missed a deadline, I’ve never had an article rejected, and I regularly get new jobs. I’ve been freelancing for a year and I’m halfway to my financial goal, which may sound slow but seems to be a normal pace for new freelancers. I’ve learned to ask strangers personal questions, set my own rates, manage my time, and run a business.

On the other hand, I still goof off for part of every day, Gene still has to pay my rent, I am a crappy housekeeper even though I have time to spare, and I sometimes have days where I don’t do one single productive thing.

So it’s hard to say how I’m doing. The only real progress I can measure is internal. Just a few months ago I was still telling people I was a professional sponge. Now I tell them I’m a writer.

I don’t know other freelancers, but I know most of you manage your own lives just like grownup type people. How do you judge a successful day, or week, or year? Is this even something I should be worrying about?

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