Freelance work tends to come in peaks and troughs, and while there are lots of up-sides to being freelance, a definite down-side is that if you don’t work, you don’t pay the bills. In my early days however, I quickly realised that there are some very good translators who really do work 24/7, regardless of industry ups and downs, never say no and never EVER turn down a job (within their capabilities, of course). I chewed over this quite a bit, but decided early on that while I would work my hardest to get up and running, I would also be unafraid to enjoy the “quiet” times, and purposely build in breaks if I had to.
A big part of what I love about translation is the continuous learning curve, and in order to fully benefit from this and continuously improve my performance, it’s important that I have the time and the space to make the most of all the new things that come my way every day. It may not be the quickest way to make money, but I consider it to be a marathon, rather than a sprint – after all, I’m in this for the long haul!
Even if you are one of those people who require less time for “digestion” and no matter how passionate you are about what you do, it’s always important to recharge your batteries and allow fresh ideas and energy to emerge. How are you going to motivate yourself or attract new customers if you are edgy with fatigue? (And trust me, motivation is very important when you work for yourself.) How are you going to know whether to continue with a particular line of work if you don’t take time to step back and think about it?
So take that break, or to reverse a well known saying: Don’t just do something, sit there!