When starting your freelance-writing career, a lot of time is often wasted trying to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing.
Endless hours are spent inefficiently, and we all know that’s a death-knell for productivity and growth.
It’s easy to spread yourself thin while getting involved in your target market’s community, commenting on others’ posts, reading everything under the sun on how to succeed, keeping notes and potential blog ideas, staying current in your niche, bulking up your portfolio, studying the art of pitching, and so on and so forth.
It’s exhausting, overwhelming, and leaves you wondering just what it is you think you’re doing.
Thankfully, as someone who has been there, done that, and gotten the tattered T-shirt, I can suggest a few things that might make the confusing journey to a “real” writing career a little less chaotic.
- First things first – find a writing “den of zen.”
I know it’s been said before, but there’s a good reason why this is number one.
If you’re going to take your writing career (and yourself) seriously, you need a place where you can work without being distracted.
Coming from the lady who tried to wing it in her living room armchair while daughter, husband, dog, and cats milled around, “trying to make do” just won’t cut it.
Find a special writing den for yourself, whether it’s the crawl space in your attic (Kidding… kind of) or a corner at the local coffee shop.
- Make a prioritized to-do list.
With so many options on where to spend your time, it’s imperative that you make an organized list of what you’d like to do.
Write down everything that is taking your time and attention, like reading and taking notes on others’ blogs, reading books about your craft, working on your website and/or personal blog, practicing pitching, finding potential clients in your niche market, promoting on social media, commenting and being a presence in writing and blog communities, submitting guest blogs, bulking up your portfolio, the actual act of writing itself, ad infinitum.
Get a hold of each thing that is leeching your focus and put it down on paper.
Then take a realistic look at your list and decide how much time you want to give each task.
When you’ve got a general idea of how much time you want to put into things, it’s a lot easier to make a solid plan and schedule things so you’re not neglecting anything else.
This is the best way to put all those “Don’t forget about me – you gotta do this thing rightnowthisminute!” demons to rest so you can focus on one thing at a time and not feel like you’re dropping the ball in other areas.
- Once you’ve got your to-do list, schedule time for each area and stick to it.
We all know that making a writing date prompts the universe to throw anything and everything in our way.
Despite Murphy’s Law, make a commitment to keep your writing schedule AT ALL COSTS.
This may mean moving things around so that your family is eating take out for dinner instead of the chicken and rice you had planned, or instead of getting the laundry done you have a bigger pile for tomorrow, but so be it.
If you can’t stick to a writing schedule, even a flexible one, you’re not going to be able to commit to regular writing work.
“So stop treating your writing like a hobby and decide to get serious about making things happen. Otherwise, your writing won’t ever turn into a writing career.“.
Your family will understand, and might even chip in to help out with the dirty laundry. (Haha, I made a funny!)
I hope this gives you a good start to getting some organization and focus in your writing life.
Next week we’ll explore a few more ways you can shed your newbie status on the way to becoming a real pro. Until then, start building those lists!
What will be going on yours?