If you’re not happy with your freelance writing career, look carefully at what you’re doing each day. Writers have asked about getting organized — what should you be doing each day? How do you manage your writing so that not only do you create, but also promote your writing services effectively?
You need to fill your pipeline with work, while avoiding taking on so much work that you’re overwhelmed.
Mindset is vital. You need to be confident, and creative, so that when you take on gigs, you don’t procrastinate. As you take on more gigs, you need to become prolific.
Over 30 years of writing, I’ve had periods during which I was immensely prolific. Indeed, one editor told me that I was “too prolific”. This was during the 1980s, when my primary focus was on copywriting and magazine writing. That made me smile — I was proud that I was productive.
Unfortunately I can also recall that during those years I was either writing a lot, or not writing at all. I couldn’t seem to hit a happy medium. It took many years before I managed to develop a productive and streamlined routine. You need to be productive, yes. But you also need to be aware of burnout. If you push yourself too hard, you’ll crash.
Here’s what I’ve learned: you’ll do your best and happiest writing when your writing fascinates you — when you can’t wait to get up in the morning and get to your desk. Of course, not every project you accept will be huge fun, but try to make sure that you do something every day that’s fun for you. That keeps your creativity alive, and will make you more prolific.
Let’s look at five daily tasks which will help you to become an organized writer, so that you’re not only creative and productive, but you also fill your pipeline with work.
1. Create a daily task list.
I separate my task list into a “must do” and “can do” section. I like the idea of “3 big things, and 2 small things”. No matter how well you plan your day, not only do tasks often take longer than they should, unexpected events can wreck your writing day.
When things go wrong, you’ve got a choice. Do you get stressed? It’s better to accept that life happens, and split your task list. Do the important, big things first. For a writer, that’s writing. Everything else, barring earthquakes, fire and flood, can wait.
2. Journal to keep your sanity.
I’ve talked about journaling before. It keeps you productive, and writing. If you’re starting a new project, journaling a few paragraphs about it as soon as you get the gig primes the pump. If you’re working on a longer project, journaling helps you to stay in the project so that you’re focused when you sit down to write.
Of course, journaling also helps you to collect your ideas, and thoughts. You’ll develop fresh insights about your writing.
Journaling is therapeutic too; it keeps you sane.
3. Brainstorm to activate your creativity.
I’ve written about brainstorming in various posts. (Do a search to find them). Just like journaling, brainstorming primes the pump and keeps you writing. Brainstorm daily, if you can. It makes all the difference to your productivity.
That’s what writers do. 🙂 The more you write, the more you achieve. It needs to be the focus for you, every day.
5. Edit your writing.
Try to separate writing and editing as much as you can. I like to do them on different days, because they require a completely different mindset.
Many writers hate marketing, but it’s essential. Find a way to promote your writing that you enjoy, and just do it, consistently.
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