You’re a freelance writer. You write for money.
I recently came across a quote from Agatha Christie which describes the writers’ life:
“I assumed the burden of a profession, which is to write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing and aren’t writing particularly well.”
She sums it up. We freelancers write even when we don’t want to, and even if we don’t like what we’re writing much. If you’re new to the freelance life, this seems horribly grim.
Look on the bright side. We have huge benefits: we can write in the morning, or late at night, we’re free of office politics. Moreover, there’s no ceiling on a writer’s income.
You’re your own boss. This can be very good, or very bad, if you indulge yourself and take more time off than you should.
Here’s what will ensure that you’re a wonderful boss to yourself: habit.
Let’s look at five things you can do every day, to develop powerful habits which will ensure the success of your writing business.
1. Keep Your Eye on the Ball: Review Deadlines
Every freelancer has deadlines. They can sneak up on you. Last week you told yourself: “It’s only an article. Two interviews, and I’m golden.” You contacted five people, no one responded. The article’s due tomorrow, and you don’t have any sources.
Review your deadlines every day. Know what’s coming up, and what you’re expecting others to do.
2. Don’t Procrastinate, Write. You’re Getting Paid
Everyone procrastinates. Do your writing first each day, if you can. Then no matter what happens, you’ve got your important work done.
If I’m working on a project and start to procrastinate, I immediately chunk the project right down. You can stand anything if you only have to work on it for ten minutes at a time.
3. Communicate With Clients
You’ve got endless ways to communicate with clients. Send them a tweet or a text message. If you have questions, ask.
4. Write Proposals for New Work
It’s amazing how quickly you can go from being booked solid, with a waiting list, to just a project or two, or even to a clear schedule. Clients postpone or cancel projects. Prospects who’ve promised to hire you vanish.
Get into the habit of pitching for new projects every day, no matter how busy you are.
5. Have Fun
Yes, as a freelancer you “write even when you don’t want to, (and) don’t much like what you are writing.” Therefore, it’s vital that you schedule some fun into your daily life.
Get out of the office. Go shopping, or go for a walk. We spend a lot of time sitting, so do a little fun exercise. Ring someone and gossip.
Freelance writing is a wonderful career if you love to write. However, making money from your career needs to be a habit. As any successful business owner will tell you, it’s all about the cash flow. So you need to focus not only on your writing, but also on making your career profitable. Sooner or later, this will become second nature to you.