Or, why learning to say no is invaluable.
One key suggestion I have is:
Unless you’re starving, do not take on a gig that makes you want to spork out your eyes. For that matter, do not take on a gig if it even makes you sigh into your morning cup of ambition.
I found that unless I actively needed the money to live, if I didn’t like the project, I would procrastinate on starting it. This is bad for many reasons, all of which should be more than clear.
The project would take longer simply because I didn’t like it. Completely aside from whatever procrastination devices I came up with, my brain would work slower and my hands would become clumsier.
Knowing that there is something I need to do and haven’t done is emotionally draining. I can’t enjoy anything that I do like because I have this thing hanging over my head like a bloody axe.
After having done it, I tend to splurge on things I can’t afford. Spend two hours I don’t have reading a book that makes me feel better. Use quite a bit of the freelance money on ordering in delicious food because gods dammit, I deserved it.
It’s just a bad thing all around. Best case scenario, I end up somewhat richer albeit with a fresh load of self-hate. Worst case scenario, I lose some rep points because I took too long with the project, I have that self-hate times two, and I end up blowing the money on retail therapy.
And this is why I’m jacking my rates for doing translations to $150/hr. It’s simply not worth it for me otherwise. I hate translations with a blinding, all consuming passion. It’s like editing, except worse. Ten times as bad. And considering that I think editing is like carving pretty things out of my own femur, that’s saying something.