Stop Being Free.

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Last year I planned to stop being nice. I’m gonna admit, I’m doing a pretty okay job at it. Not being so nice translates to an amazing sense of personal power. Maybe a slightly precarious sense of power, but I’m trying it on none the less.

This year I’m going to stop being free.

No, it isn’t what you think. Keep reading.

I’m glad this year’s version of the question is different. The difference is in the final words: higher payoff activities. I like this. I like this because my goals in the year ahead are actually (finally) about business as unusual. This last year has been about bailing out and balancing my boat. About re-sculpting my inner sphere (although, let’s be honest – that is a plodding and perpetual journey). The year ahead, the year ahead is about translating everything bopping around within myself into business as unusual. With a focus on the business.
This year ahead is (and it feels so fun to be honest and out loud about it!) to focus on translating what I currently do for fun into something that can supplant part of my currently earned income at my job-job. I’m not as concerned about the income part, but about the time part. There is only so much of it, and I want to be intentional about how I fill it.
Because, I need to stop doing more in order to focus on what I really want to be doing.
And that means I need to stop being free. I’ve been writing for free, and taking on projects without compensation, for a few years. Not all of them, but those in new areas for me. Because I needed to get to know people here. Because I needed a little portfolio. Because I needed to earn my own confidence before selling myself as someone who writes things. Free was great when I had extra time. Free was great when I was just getting established. Free was a great way to scatter a lot of seeds and find out which ones germinate.
Free is a bit like a wish. Free has hesitation. Free does not establish my value, to myself – and to the world.
But that free time is over.
It’s time to start thinking of myself as a freelance writer – and using that parlance to enact some power toward my future goals. It’s time to start using that language. It’s time to transition to getting paid for the words I put on the page.
That’s part of the big plan to make this farm-writing-creative life something more sustainable for my energy and my livelihood. There’s a lot more to that plan, but the first step is to stop piling on new things that don’t route my precious ship in the exact direction I want to be blowing.

Tuesday’s Quest2016 nudge is from John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, a marketing consultant, speaker and author of books like Duct Tape Marketing.

What can you stop doing in 2016 such that it would allow you to focus on higher payoff activities?



  1. Oh this is just the medicine I needed…. a little VJH supplement to boost my immunity to giving away my content. There are places and people with whom I collaborate and offering parts of my work and my images is a happy, generous sharing. But shoring up the flow, adjusting the tap is where I am too. Do you know how happy I am for a visual on you? Thank you again for coming to the BETA on Sunday. xoxoS

    Liked by 2 people


    1. Yay Suzi! Maybe we can encourage each other the move in this sometimes-uncomfortable direction! Can I tell YOU how happy I was to be a part of BETA on Sunday? It was so dreamy. You are something special!

      Liked by 2 people


  2. “Free was great when…” it is great sometimes, isn’t it, when it’s given freely? (didn’t mean a play on words).
    “Free is a bit like a wish. Free has hesitation.” Yes! I have never heard it described like that but that is exactly spot-on. Brilliant.

    “It’s time to start thinking of myself as a freelance writer.” What struck me here is how words have power. How we describe ourselves is how we then in turn focus our self-energy and self-attitude.




      1. So true about the power of naming! I’m practicing “small business owner” and “freelance writer” and it’s fun (and powerful) to wear those hats in public. Power to the words!

        And I love your idea about when it’s given freely. It’s so true! Thanks for stopping by for a reading!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been down the road of free. For several years, when I thought I might like to take family portraits for income, I took lots of free pictures for family and friends and friends of friends. I tried to transition to charging a fee, and well let’s just say that idea met with resistance . . . both because of my need to be ‘nice’ and because people really love free stuff, especially the stuff that talented and hardworking people produce. As is my style, rather than face the conflict, I gave up. I am a year behind you . . . with ‘stop being so darn nice.’ I’m cheering you on! Yes to limiting the stuff on your plate, yes to charging for the words you write, yes to the quest that moves you forward.



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