Who is Your Work Spouse?

This morning I had a Skype meeting with one of my favorite fellow freelance writers, Emma Johnson of We decided late last year that we would kick off 2014 by motivating each other toward our work-related goals. We both hope to build out platforms and create information products based on our areas of expertise. We have a shared goal: Turn journalism on its head by cutting out the middleman (i.e. publishers) and delivering useful and enriching content directly to readers.

We just ended our call and I am jazzed. Pumped! Excited for the new year! This is a mindset I couldn’t have forced myself into. We all need teammates who will help motivate us toward victory, but I think this is especially true for freelance writers or anyone who works solo. Sitting here in silence, the only sound that of the clicking keyboard, allows our minds too much time to wander into the “what ifs” that can spell professional doom. I have an idea, but what if it isn’t marketable? What if I can’t pull it off? What if I’m not as good as I believe I am? What if I fail?

When you have a goal buddy, it is her job to be the naysayer to your negativity. When you’re feeling low or defeated, you send her an email or IM and she coaches you back into the ring. When you are stumped with how to proceed with a project, she will undoubtedly have fresh ideas. And when you just need to vent your frustration, she’ll say, “I get it. I really do.”

For all these reasons I’ve referred to Emma as my “work wife” — the person you partner with, vent to and lean on during tough times. Having a work spouse can help make self-employment bearable for the long term. So if you don’t have one, find one. Emma and I met through other writer friends I know through our professional organization, the American Society of Journalists and Authors. For some reason we clicked right away. I can’t explain why as writers can be a quirky bunch (myself included). But I’ve learned that when it comes to friendships, when you find someone who meshes with your worldview, laughs at your jokes and deals with your moodiness, grab on and hold on.  And Emma meshes, laughs and deals.

I’ll end this by dedicating this post to my work wife and wishing her all the success she hopes for in 2014 (and that it comes much faster than you’ve charted out in your business plan).


What do you think?

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