Today, opportunities for writers are literally unlimited. You can write what you like, and chances are good that you’ll be paid for it. But what if you’re a part-time writer? Can you make your writing pay? That depends on your creativity. You need to be creative not only in your writing, but also in your writing processes, as well as in time management.
I’ve been helping part-time writers to make full-time incomes. Let’s look at five tips which worked for them. Some of these tips may surprise you. I encourage you to try them out. They’ll increase both your creativity, and productivity.
Here they are.
- Journal… please. Over the past weeks, I’ve had more calls on my time than usual. This means that I’ve needed to streamline my own processes, and I depend on my journals more than ever;
- Meditate: it calms your mind, and your creativity will flower;
- Exercise, every day, to increase your stamina;
- Create schedules and calendars, but leave yourself time to think;
- Write drafts for everything — “zero” writing eliminates procrastination.
Let’s look at these tips in a little more detail.
1. Journal: It’s a Good Habit Which Pays Off for Part-Time Writers
Your journal is your thoughts on paper. Whenever a writer tells me that he procrastinates, I encourage him to journal. It builds your writing habit. Over the years, I’ve tried electronic journals many times, but for me, nothing beats paper journals. Yes, they’re inconvenient. There’s no “search” function, for a start. And your journal’s something extra that you’re carrying around.
Nothing replaces your journal, however. I strongly encourage you to journal. Try it for a week. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
2. Meditate: Your Time Will Seemingly Expand, and Creativity Becomes Effortless
Meditation sounds complex. It’s not. It’s just sitting. Literally. You sit in one spot for a period of time, without moving. You focus on something — for me, it’s usually my breath — and allow your thoughts to come and go. When a thought comes, you refocus on your breath. Here’s an excellent primer.
3. Exercise: Moving Your Body Moves Your Mind and Increases Your Energy
Like meditation, exercise is something that no one else can do for you, and it makes a huge difference in your life. When I suggest exercise to writers, they complain that they have “no time.” Like meditation, once you start exercising, you’ll find that you have more time. It’s amazing; exercise energizes you. Try it. You’ll realize that it’s true very quickly.
Get up half an hour earlier, and stroll around the block for 20 minutes. Or stroll in your lunch hour. You can take a notepad along to collect ideas for your writing.
4. Schedule Everything, but Leave Yourself Room to Breathe
Writers live by their schedules, otherwise they miss deadlines. This applies to your own deadlines too, if you’re Kindle publishing, or are creating products to sell. It’s tempting to put things off, but you’re decreasing your income when you do.
Leave yourself breathing room, however. Let’s say that you have two hours to write each day. Schedule 90 minutes, leaving 30 minutes for thinking time.
5. Rely on Your Drafts: They’re Raw, but Be Happy With That
“Drafting” something is like an artist’s sketch. It’s an enhanced outline, if you like. Be satisfied with your initial drafts, no matter how crappy you think they are — that’s exactly the way they should be. No one will see them. They give you a start, and eliminate page fright.
Part-time writers develop full-time incomes when they’re committed to their writing. Keep your goals in mind every day. Before you know it, your income will increase, and then increase again. Before too long, you’ll become a full-time writer.
Updated: January 7, 2017
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