I know the title of this post sounds melodramatic, but trust me, it's not. I'm not talking about relationships gone bad or dealing with difficult people. No. I'm talking about your freelance business.
Hold on. Let me explain.
A couple weeks ago, I posted a blog entry that I consider one of my better pieces here on Incandescere. Then, I disappeared. Yes, that's right. I walked away. No, I wasn't angst-ridden. I was ... wait for it ... busy.
I had a major assignment that required my full attention. I didn't do any marketing (well, maybe a little follow-up with people who responded to my initial LOIs). I only sent out one query, and it was a follow-up to a previous pitch. I also didn't file any paperwork, update my portfolio or take on any additional projects.
I needed to focus on this major task because it meant such a great deal that blogging and marketing had to be set on a shelf. It doesn't mean I don't love my business. It doesn't mean I'm terrible at managing my freelance work. It means ... I'm human. But if you read advice from small business gurus and master freelancers in the industry, you will often be struck by the "ABC" message: Always Be Closing.
So, as a result, those of us who may hold full-time jobs or juggle families and volunteer work or do any of the million other things that make life a glorious, yet stressful roller coaster will beat ourselves up for not balancing our workload like the world's greatest trapeze act. And last week, I did it too.
I felt guilty for not exercising because all my evenings were devoted to this project. I felt bad that my home looked like a hurricane hit it more than usual. I avoided looking at my paper inbox tray as it dips in the center, begging to be cleared.
But then I remembered something. I'm so passionate about an assignment that my blogging, my research on creative business planning, and my physical fitness are falling by the wayside. I knew it wouldn't last forever, and everything would go back to normal once it was out the door. So why did I feel bad for walking away?
Is it a gender thing? Girl power and all that? Is it an only child issue? If you don't do it, who will? Whatever it was, I had to learn to move past it, and so do you. If your readers miss your magnificent words for a week or two, does that mean you're a failure as a blogger? Absolutely not. If it does, then I think we all need to hang up our keyboards.
If you recall, last September, I disappeared completely. Go ahead, look at the archives on the right. ... See. If you're a professional blogger like Seth Godin or you get paid to ghost blog for a client, I can see how a week or month-long hiatus will make heads roll. But if you're an entrepreneur using your skills for other endeavors, it's expected that when your plate is full, you feel gratitude, not regret.
Don't apologize for being busy. Take breaks to maintain your sanity. And remember that life is a series of waves and troughs.
The best thing I could've done for my blog following my review of Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap, which was retweeted by Indianapolis Star music journalist Dave Lindquist, was write another piece to hold on to the new visitors here on my site. However, one of the main tenets of business is knowing when to follow one path when it's unrealistic to follow two. But only you can make that choice and give yourself permission to walk away.
Have you ever had to take a brief hiatus in one area in order to pursue another endeavor full-time? How did it turn out? Is there anything you would change on how you handled it?