Search This Blog

Monday, September 16, 2013

"It Annoy Me": Why I Feel Like a Three-Year-Old

I told my three-and-half-year-old daughter the other day that she needed to clean her room, which was littered with naked Barbies and about 100 pieces of plastic food, before we could go to the park. "I don't want to clean my room!" she protested. "It annoy me."

This has become my anthem for freelancing this week. In short, everything "annoy" me. I have a book to finish by September 30, and I can't find my usual motivation. I've overextended myself with volunteer "opportunities," and I'm wishing I would have said "NO!" several months ago. (I've taped a sign up on my office wall to remind me that "no" may be a hard word to say, but I rarely regret it.) I just lost out on a lucrative, promising ghostwriting gig--one that I fully expected to sign this week. And I'm having all kinds of problems with my Internet connection. So yeah, I'm annoyed.

But this isn't exactly a novel feeling. I've found that at a certain point while working on any big project, it annoy me. It actually annoy the hell out of me. I wish for a clone who would come in and finish the piece for me--or that like the cobbler and his shoes, I could simply leave my Word document open and discover that the magical elves have done everything--except maybe print the book out for its final proofreading.

Alas, I have no magical elves. So I have to try ignore my annoyance and just buckle down. I have a variety of tricks I use when my motivation flags: 

* I set a timer and promise myself I won't get up until at least 45 minutes have passed. I always manage to write at least a page or two before I'm sprung.  
* I change locations and work at Caribou Coffee instead of at home. If I'm really serious about work, I wear headphones to keep people from chatting with me. 
* I choose a part of the project that produces the least amount of resistance--maybe it's the final edit of an earlier chapter instead of drafting one of the later ones and tackle that.
* Promise myself a treat at the end of the day, if I meet whatever goal I've set.
* Remind myself that I could still be a lawyer. UGH! That always kicks me back into gear. 

My point? Despite the freedom freelancing brings, you're still prone to everyday frustrations, setbacks, and yes, annoyances. Carping about being annoyed won't help you. The only thing that will is to use the ABC method (as in "Apply Butt to Chair") and get that work done. I promise, your mood will markedly improve! 

**Want to set yourself apart from other writers, nab more assignments, and create long-lasting relationships with editors and clients and make money as a freelancer, check out my latest two books, Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets or Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, Second Edition. Prefer print? Order directly from and use the discount code IMPROVISEPRESS (all caps, no spaces) for 20 percent off of your order. 


  1. It's always so helpful to hear that other (successful!) freelancers and writers have these kind of problems too.

    My only problem with this post...I have a feeling that "it annoy me" is going to work it's way into my vocabulary, and no one around my house is going to know what I'm talking about! ;)

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jennifer! And believe me, it's become my go-to phrase. :)

  2. I love the ABC method:Apply Butt to Chair. :)
    Good luck finishing up your projects! :)

  3. Love this - leave it to your daughter to coin that phrase!
    And so true...we can get lament all we want about what "annoy me" but at the end of the day, we still gotta do it :) Good to hear that even you struggle with annoyances (or is it? do they really never go away?!)
    I personally find timers and treats work best for me!

    1. Laura, you know I'm all about the treats here too! Thanks for your comment and tell me when we're getting together next! :)

  4. Thanks, Kelly. Exactly what I needed to hear today. Love the photo and the phrase.

  5. I like to follow the ABC method, too. Your idea to use a query hat also comes to mind. I have a query candle--does that make me zen?

    1. I love the query candle idea! I burn candles when I need a reminder to relax, etc...which is often! :)

  6. The hardest part is getting started. Once the momentum kicks in, so does the motivation!