During a conversation with my wife a few weeks ago, I described my life as "approaching nirvana," and I've been thinking about that conversation ever since.
Through hard work and a great deal of good luck, I've reached a point in my life where everything appears to be in balance. I have a combination of steady clients and editors who assign work or regularly purchase material submitted on spec that I'm no longer banging the keyboard 12 hours a day, and my finances are such that I'm no longer praying for money to arrive in the mail each day.
While I still accept nearly every project offered me, I'm no longer littering editorial in-boxes with queries and on-spec submissions. The queries and on-spec material I generate is increasingly work I want to do as opposed to work I'm willing to do.
What prevents me from actually reaching nirvana, however, is the sense that complacency could be a career killer. If I lost a major client or an editor who purchases a steady flow of my work were to change jobs, I would return to scramble mode, flinging stories and queries into the mail with a renewed sense of urgency.
Still, I can see nirvana from where I stand. It looks like a really nice place.