Can you remember the fear of waking up on the first morning after becoming a freelancer? That eerie yet exciting feeling of being your own boss starting to settle into your bones? It is a strange feeling that can become fear, stress and boredom very easily if you don’t keep yourself fresh and keep the momentum moving in the right direction.
When an ordinary person goes to work, they have a predetermined schedule that keeps them in check. Their boss wants them to start at 9am, so they jump out of bed, get ready and go. When you work for yourself you are the boss, and motivation and your working day is all on you. It can be easy to get an extra hour in bed and then have to play catch up for the rest of the day. You make your own hours, and motivation is incredibly important. If you’re not a self-starter you could see yourself become a freelance procrastinator instead of a freelance writer, and they don’t get paid well!
Set Yourself Goals
A freelance writer should set themselves goals just like any other worker. When somebody asks “where do you see yourself in five years?” you should have an answer for that. Maybe you want to have a series of eBooks published? A blog that is an authority in its niche? Either way, you should set yourself these goals and devise a plan that keeps you moving towards them every single days. It will give you extra motivation to stay focussed and avoid the rot settling in.
Keep Varied Interests
Even if you love what you write about more than you love your own friends and family, everyone can become stale and bored from time to time. This is where having hobbies and interests can really help out to reinvigorate you and keep you on the right track. Sitting down and writing for 8-10 hours a day, 5-6 days a week is going to drive anybody a little crazy, so make time for you to step away and take part in some activities that have absolutely nothing to do with writing. When you step back into the writing zone you’ll be back on track in no time.
A Bit on the Side
No, this isn’t what you guys sniggering at the back are thinking! Freelance writing is a pretty solitary sport, so having some work that isn’t related to writing can bring in some extra money or just be a way to get away from the blinking cursor. A lot of freelance writers engage in charity and volunteer work or hold workshops and seminars are people looking for advice and direction in fields that freelancers might be able to help with. Like hobbies and interests, it keeps you social and engaged with the community at large, and that is so important.
There are thousands of freelance writers out there, and even more people who are looking for great writers to help shape their websites, their content and many other aspects of their business. But you won’t find them by sitting at home all day at your computer. Although a lot of your clients will probably come about by online contact, there is nothing more rewarding and more invigorating for a freelancer than making connections face to face. If these relationships blossom into business clients, that’s great, but even if it’s just some networking events where you can engage with people, it is an exciting and rewarding experience. You will find that the more human contact you have as a writer, the more goodwill comes your way. Strike up a balance between online and offline connections and you will always have somewhere to turn for advice or just a friendly chat.
Leave The House!
It is such an obvious point to make, but it really is something that a lot of freelance writers forget to do. Waking up in the morning and heading downstairs to the laptop and coffee machine can become the main objectives of the day very easily, and make for a pretty poor hygiene and fitness routine. Wearing sweatpants and a three-day growth isn’t an appealing look after a while, so it is really important to get into a routine of getting regular exercise away from the writing desk. If you have a dog it will certainly help, as you can help each other keep fit. But even if you don’t, there’s a big world out there and it isn’t going to be explored with a sedentary lifestyle. Keep the blood circulating from the brain to the legs and the legs may return the favour and get ideas and motivation flowing to the brain as well.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
Nothing puts a freelance writer under more pressure than having a client that is a bit of a pain in the backside. Demanding and challenging clients are great when they are paying well and their demands keep you focused and invigorated, but when they are just being a hassle, it might be time to say goodbye. Unfortunately, a lot of freelancers feel that they are in a privileged position when they have clients, and they might not have the confidence to feel like they can walk away. Trust in yourself. You are good at what you do and you can afford to say no. Sometimes you need to toughen up and cut the clients who are more trouble than they are worth. Having a good roster of clients will keep you fresh and motivated, and so will having the confidence to step away when you feel a relationship isn’t mutually beneficial.