Feeling Stuck In Your Freelance Writing Business? Read This.

Is your gut filled with sharp stress knots? Do you feel so stuck that you feel there’s no way out?

I feel your pain. I’ve been there. And it’s not fun.

There are times in your professional (and personal) life when things seem completely hopeless.

– You hate your job, yet you can’t see a way out. You need the security.

– The phone isn’t ringing and you’re seeing your bank account dwindle to almost nothing.

– You’re facing a midlife crisis with your business and the things that used to be fun aren’t fun anymore.

– Life isn’t quite clicking for you and you don’t know why.

Things don’t start out feeling stuck. At first, it’s almost a fun challenge. You may say, “Hey, I have to figure out new ways to generate income. How bad can that be?” Or “I’m sure I can launch my own business. I just need to make it happen.”

Days drag into weeks (and sometimes, into months.) That sharp stress ball in your gut gets bigger. That stuck feeling gets larger. You dig your heels in, work longer hours and do what you can to fix your situation.

(And deep down, you find yourself obsessing over your “problem” and wondering what’s wrong with you.)

There is nothing wrong with you. Really. This is all part of the process.

I’m a “dig in” kind of person. Being the control freak I am, I like to think that I can change a situation through working harder. Sometimes, it works. When it comes to longer-term “life issue” stuff – it backfires. I get more stressed, more tired and feel even more stuck.

Maybe you’ve felt the same way.

Recently, I was going through my own stuck situation. In retrospect, it doesn’t seem like a big deal now – more like a mini midlife crisis. Maybe it was because it was near a big birthday. Or maybe because other background things were going on. I may not have talked about it much, but it was there … just beneath the surface.

So I’d obsess. And work. And obsess some more. Not fun.

In a moment of clarity (thank you, floatation tanks,) I had a vision. I thought of my favorite place – the ocean – and how I like watching the tide gliding in and out.

(For more information about the benefits of “floating,” check out this interview I did with The Nation.)

I realized that life was just like that. Sometimes, the tide is in and everything is clicking. Things are easy and effortless.

But then the tide goes out again. Just because the water is “gone,” doesn’t mean it’s not coming back. It’s just taking a pause and gathering energy. That energy and force rushes in again. It always does. I just have to be patient.

Did my breakthrough change my situation? No. But it did change my perception of the situation. I felt lighter and in more control. I was able to focus on other things outside of my current stress. I stopped working so hard and worked smarter instead. I focused more on gratitude and abundance rather than fear and lack.

And you know what? I can feel the tide slowly gathering force and coming in again. I can’t quite tell what the final result looks like yet, other than it feels good and happy.

Happy is good. What’s more, I feel centered enough to notice the switch and be grateful for it.

So, if you’re feeling stuck, know that your situation can change. It may not change today or on your preferred timeline. Your tide may still be out.

But it will come back, stronger than ever. And you’ll be stronger than ever. Trust me.

6 replies
  1. Amy C. Teeple says:

    Thanks Heather.

    I’m not sure if the tide has just gone out or if I’m caught in the under toe (to use your ocean metaphor). There have been A LOT of changes in my life this year and I am trying to sort everything out.

    I’m giving it some time for the tide to come back in.

  2. Geraldine says:

    I love the ocean analogy – sometimes it does feel like you’re drowning (struggling to keep your head above water) while other times you can enjoy a leisurely paddle in the shallows!

    It’s all ebb & flow…

  3. Dan says:

    This is a great reminder for me so that I can remember I’m not alone. Been in business 2 years now and just hit my lowest revenue week last week and this week, even though I’m much smarter and talented than ever before. Like you, I tend to overwork and obsess when things aren’t going my way. Instead of falling into that pattern, this time I’m choosing to work smarter and make better decisions to go for better-paying clients and more fulfilling work.

    It’s scary to trust that it’ll work out, but this post gives me more courage to do that.


    • Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Ouch, @Dan.

      Those times are scary, I know. It’s easy to get into “panic mode” and start thinking, “I’m going to be living under a bridge soon!”


      Hang in there. It sounds like you have a smart game plan in place. Just remember too – just one phone call (or email) can completely change your situation. It’s happened to me like that many, many times. You just have to take a deep breath and try to relax.

      Keep me posted on your progress. Good luck!


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