There are many tips for freelance writers out there. With the explosion of social media, freelance sites, blogs, and book releases today, writing is quickly becoming a career path to financial independence, freedom from the corporate world, and a way to unleash creativity for personal and financial growth. Freelance writing isn’t for the faint of heart though. It requires a lot of self discipline, belief in yourself, patience, and being financially smart. It also requires avoiding the tendency to procrastinate! If you’re a writer and have a hard time getting things done, maybe some of these tips for freelance writers will help you. They are some of my personal favorite ways that help me get more work in, in less time, and with better results. Hopefully, they might do the same for you!
1. Make a Schedule
One of the best recommended tips for freelance writers is also the first thing I do at the beginning of my work week. And that my friends, is to make a schedule. I usually do this in Google Docs, either in a spreadsheet, or just a standard document. You can do this in any word processor format you have as well. All you need to do is plan out your work evenly, with the work days you have available. Schedule in your workouts, and allow time for meals, etc. This helps you get a plan and a visual for how you’ll get it all done.
2. Stick to It
Now, here’s the hard part. That great schedule you just made? You’ve got to stick to it! That means when your best friend calls for coffee, and you’re scheduled to work, you’ve either got to pencil in working late that night, or ask her if you can go later when you’re done, or another day. Remember, this kind of thing happens all the time when people know you work from home, making it harder to get your work done. Freelancing takes discipline, even when it comes in the form of a great friend and fabulous coffee! In the end though, you’ll notice you actually have more free time when you stick to your schedule and things aren’t erratic.
3. Be Prepared for Interruptions
Neighbors, family members in the house, roommates, phone calls, and even your inbox can all be disruptions that happen every single day. Most days when my family is home, I have to go in my room, put in my headphones and start a really great playlist to help me work. Otherwise, I can’t quit chatting with them, or the television is a constant irritation. Remember freelancers, if you live with people, interruptions will happen! Even dead silence can be a terrible work downer, so pop in some tunes and get back to work!
This might sound strange, so trust me here. Working out an hour a day does two things. First, it gets you off your rear when you’re most likely sitting all day writing, and number two, it increases creativity in the brain. Exercising is often when I get my best writing ideas. Even if I just go for a stroll around the block, or do a yoga DVD, I get great ideas due to the blood flow and activation of neurons in the brain. It also gives you a break from writing, which can help you work better when you return. Just don’t forget to schedule it in!
5. Eat Enough Fat
I know I’m a nutritionist, and like to throw healthy eating in when I can, but honestly, I think better when I don’t skimp on my fat. I eat healthy fats from fish, nuts, seeds, 100% dark chocolate, and coconut every single day. Your brain is made of 60% fat. Don’t deprive it of what it wants. Eat enough lean protein so you’re not ravenous, along with plenty of leafy greens and lots of veggies. You’ll work at full strength, be able to focus, and as a bonus, you’ll be happier, and probably thinner, as a result. Don’t snack on sugar though. It has the opposite effect in every single way.
6. Set a Timer
If you need to, set a timer when you start writing and give yourself a 5 minute break every hour, either to grab a healthy snack, spend a minute with your dog, throw a load of laundry in, or empty the dishwasher. Or, just go outside for 5 minutes and get some fresh air. This helps you from getting stiff, stagnant and sidetracked. Just be sure to return when that 5 minutes is up.
7. Silence Your Phone
I also find it helps to silence my phone from calls while I’m working, along with switching off or ignoring Facebook notifications or Twitter notifications. You can always check your phone every hour when you take your 5 minute break. If you have kids and don’t want to do this, that’s fine, but otherwise, try it for one week and see how it works for you.
If you’re a freelance writer, what tips do you have for getting more done? If you do have a favorite tip, please do share. I’m always up for getting helpful hints!