(Today’s post is by Katie Elizabeth, a freelance writer and SEO expert)

When you’re first starting out as a freelance writer, it can be difficult to find gigs that pay enough to make a living without zapping your creativity. I believe that any sort of writing has the potential to hone your skills, so you shouldn’t necessarily steer clear of low-paying jobs altogether. It’s all about perspective, and recognizing when it’s time to take a break.

Break the Vicious Cycle

Several factors cause many freelance writers to become overworked and discouraged in the early stages of their careers. Pressures from family and friends, the desire to be independent and mounting monthly bills are just a few things that can make freelance writers feel like they’re running on a treadmill with no escape.

Never forget that one of the greatest perks of being a freelance writer is the ability to enjoy flexible working hours. Besides setting your own schedule, take care to stick to it. Whether you make a living writing for an agency, creating marketing content or another type of work, it’s your right to be firm about how much work you can accept in a given day and break the cycle of stress.

Don’t Let Socialization Suffer

Before making the leap to freelance writing, many people came from environments where they were supervised by superiors and surrounded by co-workers. Since neither of those factors are applicable to many varieties of freelance work, it’s easy to feel isolated. Freelancing can be tough, especially without a support network.

Experiment with setting up a mobile office in a local coffee shop. Get to know the owners, and speak openly about your chosen career path. The managers at my favorite establishment now eagerly ask me about what I’m working on whenever I stop in, and I can rest assured that if my home Internet connection goes down, or I just don’t feel like staying around the house, I’ll be welcomed there with open arms.

Make Time for Life

When you’re looking at a schedule and noticing that you’ve got to knock out seven blog posts, two press releases and a product description before quitting for the day, it can be tempting to try and finish everything in one stretch. Before you know it, writing is the only thing you’ve accomplished in a span of several hours.

Back when I was a new writer, a close friend took me aside and kindly mentioned that I seemed to be showing signs of burnout. Rather than scolding me for not managing time more efficiently, he assured me that he’d been in my situation once, too. After a long discussion, my friend convinced me to strike a work-life balance, and told me to give it a month and see if I noticed a change.

Although the new mindset required some adjustment, it made such a difference and not only was I writing with newfound clarity, but sleeping better and feeling more motivated.

Now I’ve learned to segment my time so I work hard, but never forget to take breaks and savor the free time. I know that many new writers feel driven to pick up as many projects as possible, especially while getting established. Keep my tips above in mind so when you take projects, you can complete them at your best and avoid feeling taxed.