How to Enjoy Freelance Freedom Without Being a Digital Nomad

Sophie Playle

When you run your own business, you can often take your work with you wherever you go.

It’s one of the reasons I love running a freelance fiction editing business.

A ‘digital nomad’ is someone who travels on a permanent or semi-permanent basis while making a living working from their laptop, usually by running an online business. I did it full-time for nine months not so long ago.

I’m currently spending a month in Madeira. Right now, I’m editing manuscripts in the sunshine while friends and family are turning their heating up back home in the UK. A few days ago, I posted a photo on Twitter of my current workstation. A lot of people responded with ‘jealous!’ to the photo I posted … which got me thinking.

Sure, being able to throw my laptop in my rucksack and jet off to another country is generally pretty frickin’ amazing, and I feel incredibly lucky to be in the position to do so.

There are drawbacks and challenges to this lifestyle, too, though. But if you run your own business from your computer – as many of my editorial colleagues do – this still affords you plenty of ways to make the most of your location-independent business.

Here are just a few ideas.

1. Live wherever you want

Of course, this one still depends on your wider situation. But in general, running your business from your laptop means you aren’t tied to a particular location. You may not be able to keep moving around different countries digital-nomad style, but you still have a wider choice when it comes to choosing where to settle down – and you can move more easily, too!

I started my career working in-house, but realising that most UK publishers were based in London was one reason I decided to go freelance. I didn’t want to live in London! So I relocated to Norwich, which is a much quieter, prettier and cheaper place to live.

You could even relocate to Berlin or Granada for a year if you wanted to. There are no timeframe rules to your location independent lifestyle!

2. Find different places to work locally

A change is as good as a rest, they say. Mix things up a bit by taking your laptop to different coffee shops, bars (actually surprising good places to work if they’re open during the day because there are fewer screaming babies around), libraries, hotel lobbies, co-working offices …

You could make a quest of it: try every coffee shop within a ten mile radius. You’ll probably find a few new favourite places to work.

Or hop on the train and go to another town to explore the options there.

You could even work on the train! I know a few people who find working-while-on-transport incredibly productive – perhaps due to the lack of internet. Enjoy the changing scenery.

3. Book yourself a mini working holiday

Obviously holidays without working are even better, but sometimes it’s just good to get away from home responsibilities and have some time by yourself to just focus. Though you could book a few days in Croatia if you wanted to, you don’t have to go far to do this.

Keep an eye out for local hotel offers and book a single night.

As long as there’s a desk in the room or space to work in a communal lounge, you’re good. Get your head down, do some work, then at the end of the day enjoy a nice dinner cooked for you and spread out on the fresh clean sheets with the remote all to yourself.

Bonus: Make your home workstation awesome

If you set up your home workstation in a way you truly love, you might find your digital nomad wanderlust has less of a hold on you.

I’ve found things like being near natural light, having a comfortable chair and keeping my desk clear of clutter while still incorporating a few personal items really helps.

And if you don’t have a permanent workstation in your home, you can still make the most of what you do have. If you work from the kitchen table, for instance, you can still set it up with what you need before clearing everything away into a nice box when it’s time for dinner.

If you’d like to learn more about running an editorial business, take a look at my online courses.

Sophie Playleis a professional fiction editor. She specialises in developmental editing, critiquing and copy-editing, and loves working with authors and publishers who are passionate about high-quality storytelling. Speculative fiction, fantasy, science fiction and literary fiction are her genres of choice. She's an Advanced Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading and has a Creative Writing MA from Royal Holloway, University of London. Find out more:

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