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The Life of A Freelancer: 10 Tips To Increase Your Writing Discipline

Motivation

by Jennifer on November 2, 2012

This is a guest post by Kate Willer

If you don’t have the motivation to write, you won’t get very far in the world of freelancing. The freedom you receive can be a curse as well as a blessing.

Although you may have deadlines, there is no one yelling in your ear to get you moving. While some people are natural self-starters, others embrace sloth.

Unlike a regular office job where you can slack off when the boss isn’t looking and get paid the same, a freelancer only gets paid for work produced. As a result, you have to wake up to the realities of your chosen vocation.

If you’re a writer struggling to become motivated, you need to find discipline and below are 10 tips that can help you do that.

1. When You Can’t Write, Think!

If all you can manage is semi-coherent babble on a page, it’s best to stop and think. Dream up suitable ideas and titles for projects you have to complete.

When you do some research and come up with key points, you may find that the topic invigorates you thus providing you with additional motivation to write. Sometimes, the research is the most rewarding part of writing.

There is nothing like immersing yourself in a topic to spike productivity.

2. Proofread Last

Are you one of those ‘perfectionist’ writers who continuously proof every single paragraph or even sentence? You may think that you’re just being thorough, but you’re actually slowing yourself down unnecessarily.

The worst thing about these perfectionists is that they still miss errors!

The longer it takes you to write the article, the less motivated you become. Write your first draft without checking for mistakes and come back later to proofread it.

3. Embrace A New Environment

Good luck trying to be creative in a family environment! If you have children running around, a nagging spouse or the incessant noise of traffic to deal with, it won’t take long for motivation to dwindle.

If it’s at all possible, rent out a small office space where you can have complete control over your work environment. When you’re content, words flow far more easily on to a page.

Alternately, you could try writing at a public library or a coffee shop, where the environments are a little more controlled. Or if you have to write at home, invest in some noise-canceling headphones.

4. Set Your Own Deadlines

While many writers may curse a demanding client, the majority of freelancers are secretly delighted. Having someone give you a definitive deadline is an excellent way to keep you motivated.

You know that failure to finish the work on time loses you a client and brings you one step closer to that dreaded 9-5 job you left behind.

If you have relaxed clients, don’t allow yourself to slip into the comfort zone. Set yourself daily targets and meet them consistently. High quality work and productivity equals happy clients!

5. Rest When You Need To

This may seem counter-productive in a discussion about motivation, but working when you’re exhausted never ends well. You normally see a drop in quality and have to incur the wrath of your clients.

This in turn demotivates you as all you can think about is the hard work you put in which was not recognized.

When working on a computer, you need to take small breaks every couple of hours. Go outside and take in some fresh air for a minute or have a cup of tea/coffee and just relax. You’ll find that you return to work fresh and motivated.

6. Exercise Regularly

This almost seems to be a clichéd tip, but exercise releases feel-good endorphins and bumps up your energy level.

If you have a long day of work planned, break it up with some exercise. It doesn’t even have to be strenuous; a brisk 20-30 minute walk is just fine.

When your job involves sitting down all day, lack of exercise can cause severe health problems. Combine this with a propensity to feast on convenience foods all day long and you have potential issues.

7. Be Accountable

You need to confess your lack of productivity to a friend or partner. This isn’t as much about cleansing your soul as it is about getting a kick in the rear!

If you spent the day watching soap operas instead of earning money, you need to be held accountable. As there is no boss or co-workers to tattle on you, an accountability partner is the next best thing.

Hopefully, this person can chastise you when necessary and help you with motivation.

8. Join A Writing Class

Perhaps you lack the motivation because you don’t have belief in your own writing ability. One of the quickest ways to lose interest in something is the realization that you’re not good enough.

But you love writing don’t you?

If so, take a writing class and become an expert at something you love doing. There is a litany of scientific studies available which prove that people have the ability to learn anything in rapid time as long as they have a genuine interest in it.

Think of taking a class as an investment in yourself.

9. Get Off Your Backside!

A comfortable chair is necessary when you’re working long hours as a writer, but it can also be the very thing to stop you being productive. When you lack motivation to write, a nice soft seat is the last thing you need.

Invest in a standing desk and do some of the work standing up. Medical studies have shown that sitting down all day is very bad for your health and that standing burns far more calories.

Working from a standing desk is not easy, but it takes you out of that comfort zone and motivates you to work rather than waste time.

Set yourself targets: For example, you can’t sit down until you have completed five articles.

Also, be sure to stretch every day, which will help with the tightness in your lower back and hips from long periods of sitting.

10. Maintain A Laser-Like Focus

While multitasking seems to be a fantastic way to get things done, it isn’t a useful tool for writers seeking motivation. Avoiding the practice of writing by checking email and using social networking sites at the same time is only harming your work.

When you focus on a single task and follow through until it is completed, you will be infinitely more productive. When you try to work on several things at once, you’ll often find that ideas are lost along with motivation for the task.

While all of the above tips will not work for everyone because we are all unique, it’s virtually certain that at least a couple will prove useful to you. Keep motivation high and consistent top quality work with the accompanying plaudits will follow.

What writing motivation tips can you share?

About the Author: Kate Willer likes social networks, Google android, malwareguide.net  and psychology. She’s interested in IT services, computer upgrades, computer repair and different computer apps. She also loves traveling and skiing.

Image courtesy of photosteve101

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Daphne Gray-Grant November 3, 2012 at 10:37 am

My best tip is to do a mindmap. Mindmapping breaks up the creative log-jams in your mind and allows you to connect with the most creative part of yourself. (That said, mindmapping works just as well for non-fiction as it does for fiction.)

If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a very brief article you can read:
http://bit.ly/HHN5gb

2 Andrew Pass November 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm

People find it amazing but I actually sit and write at a sports bar in my town. I’m not drinking while I am sitting at the bar but sometimes my attention shifts to the television sets. But, it works. Isn’t that what’s it all about? Finding what works and doing it?

Andrew Pass
sourcing@apasseducation.com
Looking for good writers to develop assessment questions

3 John W November 5, 2012 at 7:08 am

Thanks for these tips! I think the best way to reduce stress is to do regular exercise every morning. Take it from me, I jog daily to keep my body fit and right before I start working in front of the computer I drink plenty of tea to energize my mind. This is my daily routine actually. So when it comes to being productive in your work take some time to read Richard Branson’s tips – this will truly help anybody who would like to be productive in their work.

4 iHanna November 5, 2012 at 9:28 am

Great advice, though I don’t agree that standing up is “hard”. It’s quite comfortable to stand and type, but for five articles? That would have me standing 24 hours and THAT would be hard. 😉

5 Jennifer November 14, 2012 at 11:52 am

I try to stand every now and then, but it makes it hard for me to type because I’m so far away from the screen (and can’t see very well, LOL). I try to stand and work for a couple hours a day, usually on non-writing stuff, like social media or marketing. When I write, I gotta have my butt in a chair!

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