Freelancers, what’s your work mantra?

July 25th, 2011


Sunday night, after a glorious weekend on the Olympic Peninsula, I came home to several hours of uncompleted work. Due 9 a.m. Monday, hard stop. After two leisurely days of beach strolls and sunsets, communing with my computer was the last thing I wanted to do. So I picked up the remote, switched on the tube, and landed on an episode of “Deadliest Catch.”

[Flickr photo by madame.furie]

One of the skippers was chewing out a deckhand who’d retreated indoors with a torn stomach muscle. With just a handful of crew on┬áhis Alaska crab fishing boat, the skipper needed all hands on deck, pain be damned.

“I’ve worked through torn muscles and all kinds of pain,” the skipper snarled. “Unless you have a bone sticking out, you suck it up and get back to work.”

Obviously, writing is nowhere near as grueling as fishing for Alaska king crab. Still, those were the words I needed to hear. So I switched off the tube, and with “Unless you have a bone sticking out, you suck it up” as my mantra, I slogged through my project and made my deadline.

When it comes to how we approach work, I’m a firm believer that each of us has our own mantra, motto, or credo. It may be a quote by a beloved author or philosopher. It may be something you heard a friend, relative, or reality TV star say. You may even have an entire┬átheme song running through your head while you work.

[Read the rest of this post on Nine to Thrive.]

Entry Filed under: Balance,Creative process,This freelance life

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Screw9to5man  |  August 16th, 2011 at 5:53 am

    I have a lot of work today but I’m feeling lazy. Reading that quote is just what I needed. I’m gonna suck it up and just do it.

  • 2. Grace  |  August 21st, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    My old standby will always be the Muddy Waters saying:

    “Don’t let your mouth write no checks that your tail can’t cash.”

    Classic words to live by.


  • 3. Ilaria  |  September 3rd, 2011 at 7:10 am

    Mine is “au besoin dans une autre poche” (“if necessary, from another pocket”), meaning “if a client doesn’t offer enough, I’ll look for other clients who will pay me better”.

  • 4. Ilaria  |  September 3rd, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Oh, and talking about work, my mantra is: “let’s get this job done” (alternating with “I can do it”).

  • 5. Haroun Kola  |  September 25th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Deadlines, the bane of our existence!

  • 6. Vanessa  |  October 12th, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I just stumbled across your blog and I I am in love. So inspiring. =)

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Who I am

Hi, my name's Michelle Goodman and I've been freelancing since 1992. I'm author of My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. Read my full bio here.

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