Freelance writing on the road – what it’s like becoming a digital nomad

In the months leading up to leaving I had read so much about how people had transformed their lives by becoming freelance writers and the best ways to go about it. I read a lot. I learnt a lot. But there’s one big difference between what I was reading and what I am doing, and that is that most of the people I was learning from work from the comfort of their home and generally still put in the 9-5 hours to make sure they can pay their mortgage.

I don’t have a mortgage, I live in a van and Danny and I try to keep our living costs as low as possible while on the move.

This means that I don’t need to be making thousands of pounds each month like those I was reading about. We just need enough money to be comfortable and to be able to eat. Though perhaps we could still afford to cut down on the food a little… but I digress!

It’s certainly been a learning curve keeping on top of my work, taking on new clients and finding the time to explore and enjoy as well. But I’m now over two months into this adventure and here are some of the lessons I’ve learnt about being a digital nomad.

Getting the balance right between work and play

When we were still at home I was applying to every job I could, accepting most projects and generally writing my butt off to make money for our trip. Now we’re away and I’ve got to re-adjust to getting the balance right between work and play. I want to be able to explore, but I’m also not great at turning down work.

Consequently I’ve had to stop myself from applying to as many projects whilst on the move. This leaves me free to enjoy myself in my down time and not worry about my work piling up, but affords me enough work for us to, well… afford things!

I have busy weeks and quiet weeks, but as long as there’s a steady stream of work coming in I don’t mind!

Not accepting low paid jobs

When I first started doing this I was happy to accept lower fees because I needed some experience and just wanted to begin earning from my freelance writing. Now, despite not needing to make a huge amount of money, I’m no longer prepared to give up my time for really low paying jobs – and believe me there have been a few!.

You’d be surprised what people will ask you to do for just £8… so I’ve had to learn to recognise what is going to be worth my time, and what isn’t.

Working from anywhere

It’s so amazing to just be able to work wherever I want! So far I have worked whilst basking in the sunshine, I have worked in the van, on the beach, in parks, pubs and from the comfort of my own bed (featuring my skateboard as a desk).

It’s great to be able to be able to pick and choose my hours. And OK, sometimes I’m working late on a Sunday night, but that’s most likely because I spent Thursday to Saturday exploring, drinking, laughing and sleeping.

Given that days don’t really mean anything to us anymore, we now live on what we refer to as Cornish time (basically we do things as and when we want, and when it suits us best) and we love it! This means I don’t mind when I’m working as long as I’m enjoying my down time.

Writing about everything (including the bathroom sink!)

Though I have a few topics I specialise in, I have written across a huge range of subjects these past few months. Some of these topics are so peculiar that I can’t help but smile when I receive the brief from the client.

So far I have written extensively about the menopause, Robotic Process Automation, carpentry, eco-friendly fashion, Love Island, custom luxury wedding stationery and African tribal jewellery… to name a few!

But this is what makes my job so interesting, I am always learning new things through my research and no two days are ever the same!

Staying motivated

So far I’ve not procrastinated too much when it comes to work – no more than usual any way! I don’t struggle to motivate myself to pick up the laptop and get on with it. I work better in the mornings and evenings when we’re not out exploring, so I often get up early and the first thing I do is tap out an article or two.

I was expecting to have to push myself harder to find the time and will power to stop and work, but that hasn’t happened yet… Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t.

The verdict so far – I love my freelance life!

I enjoyed the freedom to freelance at home, to pick up and turn down projects as I please, but it’s even better on the road. No two days are the same which keeps things interesting and I certainly don’t get bored.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still the odd piece I wish I didn’t have to write – there was one particular piece about Love Island that was a real challenge for me as a dedicated avoider (is that a thing?) of the show. But I get to write plenty of fun content too.

Yep, life as a freelance writer and digital nomad is pretty sweet right now!

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