So you’re a freelance writer.
Hooray! That means you’re your own boss and you get to create your own schedule.
But, oh no- this can sometimes be more challenging that it appears. Distractions and social media interruptions can be tricky to navigate though as you try to carve out time to dedicate to your craft. It takes an incredible amount of organization and discipline.
What often ends up happening is:
We writers are experts at procrastination. We’ve all been there. We have a deadline, but somehow, we can’t get the ball rolling. Next thing we know, we’re pulling an all-nighter to get the job done.
Luckily there are strategies to help. With effort and planning, you can stop your procrastination habits. Here are 5 tips to help you remain aligned with your goals:
- Write EVERY day
This can be difficult, with day jobs, kids, household duties and errands sucking up so much time. But it’s essential. The more you write, the better writer you become. Since we end up throwing away 90% of what we write anyway, you need to write A LOT to get to the gold. And writing every day doesn’t have to mean writing for 10 hours straight. You could just write for 30 minutes some days. Or 10 minutes. But the idea is to keep the momentum going every day.
2. Be clear about your goals
When you work for yourself, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Every year, I create a list of my long and short term objectives. Then I list practical things I can do to achieve those goals, and break them up by month. I create a TO DO list each month (but you need to flexible about that too and go with the flow at times). It’s important not to get idealistic here, and make your goals tangible and reasonable.
- Learn how to manage your time
Time management is everything! As we know, it’s easy to get lost in the social media wormhole for hours. Managing your time may sound simple, but it’s tricky. You’ll have to put your foot down at times. Set strict deadlines. Set time aside for your projects and keep to it. But remember to also set time aside for breaks and fun activities. These will keep you energized.
- Keep a handle on distractions
This is an essential component to managing your time effectively. Again, you’ll have to make some strict rules and adhere to them. For example, you can make an agreement that you don’t answer the phone or surf the Facebook newsfeed while you’re writing. When it’s time to work, you need to respect that and remain focused.
- Stop being so critical
We writers have a sharp critical eye! This comes in handy for editing but it can also be debilitating. Sometimes we place too much pressure on ourselves. We feel like if our work is not “perfect,” we aren’t good enough and then we get clouded by self-doubt. I always say, just keep writing, without judgement. Get your ideas out and you can edit them later. Another common trap is comparison by obsessing over how well your peers are doing. But it’s best to focus on your own journey and be gentle with yourself.
I hope these tricks help you. At the end of the day, how you manage your days is a choice. Good luck with your projects and here’s to a year of more writing and less procrastination!
Love & Light,
This entry was posted in Children's literature, Inspiration & motivation, Publishing industry, Resources for writers, Writing, Writing tips and tagged author, books, freelance, goals, procrastination, publish, schedule, time management, writing.