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Freelance Writing and Rainy Days

Freelance writers must endure rainy seasonsI tried searching NJFM for the term “rainy day” and realized the only place the term showed up was on page 15 in my ebook “So You Want to Become a Freelance Writer.”

Since I didn’t write about it here on NJFM I feel I need to talk about it now.

Writing and Rain

If you are a freelance writer, it will rain on you. You will have days or even seasons of rain. We were all rained upon when Panda reigned upon us (sorry, I couldn’t resist). And just when the sky started to clear up, we had to weather yet another rainstorm (Panda 2.5).

There are large rainstorms like Panda and small individual rain showers. I’ll consider the Google AdSense glitch  an individual rain shower. Rain DropsIt only affected a small number of their publishers. I happen to be one of the fortunate ones to enjoy just a bit more of their rain/reign.

Preparing for a Rainy Day

I’ve mentioned before here on NJFM that I write not only because I enjoy it, but also because I need the money. Not to drag up old history, but we created a financial situation where earning money is not an option. It’s a must.

Even though our financial situation was less than optimal and more times than not we had more month than money, we learned to squirrel a little away for a rainy day. We realized that a large part of our financial mismanagement was due to the lack of planning. We didn’t want to fall into that trap again.

If you don’t have enough money each month to pay all of your bills, will it make a huge difference in your monthly economic situation if you put a small portion of what you earn into a savings account? Let’s say you earn $500 a month and your monthly bills are $600 a month. You’re operating at a deficit. You’re taking from Peter to pay Paul until both of them have empty pockets.

Would it make a big difference if you took $10 and put it away each month? Instead of having a $100 shortfall, you now have $110. While you continue your efforts to increase your income to meet your bills, you faithfully put $10 a month away. Eventually, you’ll become so accustomed to savings that you won’t even miss the $10.

If you’re faithful, your rainy day fund will grow. Never touch it unless there is a bona fide need (no, buying a new iPod is not a bona fide need). Because we adapted this philosophy quite some time ago, we are able to weather the recent Google AdSense rain shower.

Remaining Calm During the Storm

My daughter, upon hearing of the glitch and seeing the amount of money held in limbo, was incensed. She shouted the teenaged battle cry, “That’s not fair!”

I agreed that it wasn’t fair. I also explained there was very little I could do to straighten the situation out.

She then went on and on about the fact that it’s November and Thanksgiving is around the corner and a host of other inconveniences that could occur. I stopped her before she got herself too worked up.

Calm during the stormI explained that although there was nothing I could do about the Google situation, she could rest assured that I’m insulating myself so that if this happens next year in November, we would barely notice it (I wasn’t worried because our rainy day fund could handle this particular shower).

Since I truly had her attention, I was able to share with her an overview of some of my brainstorming ideas. It calmed her to know that I was thinking proactively. She caught a glimpse of the future and liked it.

Just Do It

Even if you start your rainy day fund by putting pennies away each month, establish the habit. Rainy days are a part of freelance writing, so start preparing for them.

Just a side note: On the Google AdSense forum in which affected AdSense publishers were sharing horror stories of how the glitch is affecting them, I couldn’t help but feel their pain.

There are some publishers that rely on their AdSense earnings to pay their mortgage (as do I). Unfortunately, when the AdSense check didn’t show up, many of them didn’t have a backup plan. In other words, they couldn’t make this month’s mortgage payment. You don’t want that to happen to you. Start your fund today.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Crystal November 7, 2011, 12:13 pm

    Great advice that anyone can implement, Felicia. You are absolutely right – $10 per month is doable in most any circumstance and the important thing is to create and reinforce the savings habit. The trick for many people is to put the money in a safe place that is difficult to access. While a bank might be best for most folks, some people who are in dire financial straits can’t have such an obvious asset no matter how small. Do you suppose it’s possible to freeze $10 bills in ice like you can a credit card?

    • Felicia November 7, 2011, 12:38 pm

      Haven’t thought of that, Crystal. You’re right, a bank isn’t always a solution. Hmmm freezing money, I guess that could work.

      • Dawn November 8, 2011, 6:09 am

        Why freeze it? I’ve had the rainy day habit for a while now, but I don’t use a bank for it. I live in a rural area where I may not be able to get to a bank or even an ATM if the roads wash out.

        I bought a small fireproof lock box that I keep under my desk. The weekly trip to the bank always includes getting that $10 extra to put in that box. Actually seeing the stack of bills in there uplifts my spirits when financial rain makes things appear bleak.

        • Felicia November 8, 2011, 6:38 am

          That makes sense! A few weeks ago I was looking into investing in a safe, but got side tracked and forgot all about it. I would think it’s a nice feeling to see the stacks grow.

          Thanks for the reminder, Dawn. I’m back on the lock box trail.

  • Joni November 8, 2011, 11:35 am

    Yes, the small savings it is doable. However, as stated, be careful. I applied for charity one month to pay utilities and buy food but because my daughter had deposited funds in my checking account for my mortgage payment that month, they counted THAT money as an asset. But it was meant for my mortgage. I will never do it again. It’s one of those damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  • Lissie November 8, 2011, 12:07 pm

    If you are in business, particularly, you have to have a financial cushion – what a good thing for a teenager to learn!

    I have always had a separate credit card, not associated with my normal bank, which has several thousands of credit on it. Its never used , or used and paid off without interest- but its my backup insurance if required – particularly in the situation you have that is just a bridging cash flow problem.

  • Dianne November 10, 2011, 3:34 pm

    I think that rainy days as a Freelance writer is definitely less traumatic. When you work at a 9-5pm job, the boss won’t even tell you if rainy days are showing up which leaves people blind sided. Plus if you’ve been loyal, it’s even more personal and hurtful. But with freelancing it’s all up to you and having loyalty for yourself. Great article!

    • Felicia November 11, 2011, 8:05 am

      Diane, that’s a great way to look at it.

  • Rodrigo Valenzuela November 11, 2011, 10:35 am

    Thanks for giving your expert suggestions. I would definitely keep aside an amount for the rainy day. What I suggest is reduce the use of credit card. It is equivalent to saving as you can avoid many unnecessary expenses.


  • Trent Adams November 13, 2011, 9:08 pm

    Thanks for this wise post. You’ve provided so much inspiration during my online writing adventure. I always find so much here that helps me along the way. With all the post-Panda changes, I’m diversifying and working way beyond my comfort level. Reading your posts made my day.

    — Trent

  • Terr November 16, 2011, 9:48 am

    Awesome advice, and very well-timed for me to read this. I just got a $10 check for participating in an online survey. I was tempted to cash it right away because my financial situation was SO DIRE. I was even tempted to cash it and treat myself to a nice dinner for a change.

    But I stopped myself. I realized that unless I save money, I will never have anything as backup. I’ve been in situations where even a couple of dollars would have made a difference.

    So I figure, look I’m broke, I’m going to be that way for a while. But at least I can have a $10 cushion. I will add to that every month. It won’t be much, but it will be there. Something is better than nothing, especially during those raincloud moments or days.

    • Felicia November 16, 2011, 9:51 am

      A great display of self control, Terr. It will pay off in the long run.

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