Anvil

Freelance Habits: The Good, the Bad and the Improving

Say it with me as you read it: Consistent action produces consistent results. We call that habit.

This is the core of any freelance practice, podcast, or coding project. It's the heart of any fitness program, the centre of learning a new skill. Do the hard work consistently, and you'll eventually become proficient enough at it that it feels almost effortless. It's that level of mastery that lets you think about the next part, the next phase, the next project.

Last summer I made a commitment to spend a half-hour a day doing some sort of physical activity. I've never been a very physical person. The first week was tough. As I was ready to give up that first week, I remembered what my first experience coding was like. It was the same thing. But the only way I got better at it was to keep coming back. To keep working on it, and recognize that the difficulties I encountered weren't roadblocks. They were lessons.

By the time winter hit, I was running 5k consistently. And then I let the habit lapse. And this spring I've been rebuilding it and recognizing the same lessons.

I had a similar experience rebuilding my practice. Not having done the sales work for a while and targeting new types of clients, I realized those habits were out of practice (hah! pun not intended but welcome!). Some consistent effort after a few months and…presto! It's almost back to being effortless again. Muscle memory!

Coders get better by writing code. Metalsmiths improve by striking that anvil, creating work after work. Writers get better by writing words. Podcasters get better by getting behind the mic. They all get better by being bad until they're good. Then they get great by improving from there. Freelancers become better freelancers by doing the same kind of work in their practice, on top of honing the skills in their craft.

I've been thinking about my practice lately as a collection of the habits I have. Good and bad, the things I do consistently are what define my practice. So improving one's practice becomes a matter of identifying the habits of which it's composed, and tinkering with specific habits to see what sort of impact they have on your practice.

What kind of habits define your practice? Have you thought about how you can enhance the positive habits, eliminate the negative habits, and add new habits to improve the overall health and resilience of your practice? Let me know on social!