One of the biggest perks of working full-time as a freelance writer is having the ability to set your own schedule and work from home whenever it is convenient for you. Even with weekly or daily deadlines for clients, many freelancers enjoy having the ability to work flexible hours at any time of day that they choose. However, with so much scheduling flexibility and having no boss or supervisor, many freelancers find themselves struggling with procrastination. Here are some tips to help freelance writers stay motivated and productive in order to earn more money writing.
Set Specific Hours
While it is certainly nice having the ability to sleep in and begin work whenever you want, it is easy to procrastinate when you have no schedule set for yourself. Choose specific days and times to work and stick to them firmly. It is important to remember that your job as a freelancer is just as serious as any brick-and-mortar job, and having a set schedule will help you form a work routine that keeps you motivated. Wake up, shower, and get ready just as you would for an office job, and work for the entire time period you have set for yourself. Schedule breaks throughout your work day and designate a specific time to be off for the day. With this routine, you will find yourself taking your job as a freelancer more serious and will likely see a drastic increase in your productivity.
Work Outside of Your Home
Choose one day of the week to get out of the house to work for either the entire day or a portion of the day. Take your laptop with you to a public location that offers free WiFi, such as Starbucks or Barnes and Noble. Spending time working outside of your home can be refreshing as a change of scenery will prevent you from falling into a rut with your writing. Order a coffee or eat lunch while you work. Doing this at the end of your work week will keep you motivated throughout the week as you will have your time out to look forward to.
Download Focus Booster
Focus Booster is a free widget that you can download to your computer desk top. The widget features a stopwatch style countdown that you can set to any length of time you choose. Program the widget for the amount of time you want to work without taking a break, and work for the entire duration of the countdown. With Focus Booster, you can even include break times and the widget will time your breaks for you before resuming a work countdown. Watching the widget countdown while working will keep you motivated to complete your writing quickly, and the break countdown will ensure you do not take overly long breaks during your work day.
Join a Writing Group
Working alone all the time can easily cause procrastination and a decrease in your motivation to write. Joining an online group of freelance writers will help boost your motivation as it will make you feel as though you are working with co-workers as you check in with your group throughout the day. If you write for a site that has a work forum, seek out like-minded writers and ask them if they would be interested in creating an online group with you. You can even create your group as a hidden group on Facebook. Have the members of your writing group check in daily with their goals and progress to keep each other motivated. Being a part of an online writing group can also provide you with the opportunity to have your work edited by friends, find out about other online gigs, or form life-long friendships.
Take Breaks to Promote Your Work
If you write for sites that pay based on article traffic, it is essential that you spend some time promoting your work to maximize your earnings. If you feel yourself getting burned out while writing, take a few minutes and instead focus on promoting your articles. You can post your article links to sites like Stumble Upon, use them to answer questions on sites like Yahoo! Answers, or post the URLs in related forums online. Taking a break to promote your work will give your brain some time to rest from writing while still keeping you focused on work as you drive traffic to what you have written.
Find Positive Distractions
Freelance writing is different from any other job in the fact that you can work in any environment that is comfortable for you. If you are a person who has a hard time focusing in complete silence, find positive distractions that will keep you motivated and working throughout the day. Listening to relaxing music may help, or you could also watch old movies or television shows you have seen multiple times. If you have already seen the movie or show, you are less likely to stop working to watch it and can simply have it on for background noise.
Take Breaks to Stretch
Freelance writing is very demanding on the brain, as it forces you to think the entire time you are working. Take a few breaks throughout your work day to get up and stretch. Get some fresh air by going for a short walk. Sitting for long periods of time is unhealthy for your back, so this is not only good for refreshing your mind but is also good for your physical health.
Work With a Friend
Similar to having an online writing group, working with another person can boost your motivation as you push each other to meet your daily goals. Even if you do not have friends in the real world who freelance, you may find yourself motivated working with someone who is studying, working on homework, or working on a graphic design project. Get together as often as you can to sit down with your computers and work for a set period of time.