Writing is a hobby that many enjoy. It allows us to contribute information through our words, touch people’s emotions and even vent our own. We can stir up passion for causes, help others improve their lives, or just pass on a story that has been simmering in our own minds that can be shared with others for their entertainment.
For others it becomes more than a hobby and instead moves into a chosen career. Blogs and websites have made it easier than ever to get that writing out there and make money, where once few opportunities resided. But when it comes to being paid for your work, especially as a freelancer, it can be difficult to find that delicate balance between what you want to write and what you have to.
Creativity can be overshadowed by information, and suddenly, practical work becomes the main focus, where once you had the freedom to explore. This is a difficult time that comes and goes for every writer. It can make it hard to find a flow between paid and personal work. Even more difficult is using both for the same project.
You can get past this block, however. Just try these simple tips to get you back into your flow, so you can find your creative voice no matter what you are working on:
Schedule Your Writing
When doing creative work, you might find time at any point in the day where you can lock yourself away from a few minutes without interruption to get some words down. But that isn’t always best when you have to write something professional, which takes a clearer focus.
Chances are, you have a time during the day where you are at your most clear-headed and efficient. Maybe this is right in the morning when you wake up and are feeling fresh. Maybe it is in the afternoon after a long walk. Maybe it is in the evening when the kids are in bed and you can settle down with a cup of herbal tea in the silence.
Whenever you find yourself most able to concentrate should be your scheduled writing time.
Don’t Allow Procrastination
How often have you been writing and, suddenly, you stop in the middle of a paragraph to check a text message or maybe to see if someone responded to that superfunny Facebook status update you posted 20 minutes ago? You know you do it; everyone does. It is a normal part of this digital age, where procrastination is so simple due to the high-tech distractions we have around every corner.
But these quick little shifts in focus can cost you a lot more time as they add up. It can also affect the quality of your work as you attempt to get back on your train of thought. If you can’t focus completely, how can you capture your creativity, precision and tone for the perfect piece?
Cut out distractions. Sign out of your accounts to reduce your desire to look at them. Turn off your cell phone. Keep the music turned to something low key that lets you enjoy it without breaking your concentration. Whatever you have to do to keep going without being distracted, do it.
Just Relax and Breathe
It is so easy to panic when things aren’t going too well. Maybe that deadline is looming or you just aren’t thinking clearly. You could be burned out and freaked about how much you still have to do on your day’s schedule. All of this leads to one thing: bad writing.
Instead of continuing on like a maniac, fighting against the block, take a step back. Turn off the computer, go for a walk, and maybe do a little workout. Read a book in the bath or go sit outside. Play with the kids or pets. Watch a TV show or movie or listen to some music.
In short, take a break. Frequent breaks are crucial to the writer, as your mind needs time to catch up to itself, unwind and then refresh.
Use Natural Energy Boosts
That sixth cup of coffee sure looks good, doesn’t it? Especially now that you are starting to shake and you feel like a bell is ringing in your head. But caffeine is the one substance that is horrible for the writer on a deadline. That sudden surge leads to a debilitating crash, which then makes further work impossible.
Instead, drink a lot of fruit juice and water, eat vegetables and fruit raw, have whole grains and stop for little physical workouts like stretches or jumping jacks. They will have the same effect, minus the violent shakes and feeling that your liver is going to jump out through your throat.
You don’t have to feel like one type of writing has to be replaced with another. In the end, it is all about keeping yourself in balance, in order to find a natural flow to your writing. Bet you wouldn’t have thought it was that simple, huh?
Jennifer Moline writes about graphic design, small business and technology for the PsPrint Blog. Follow online printing company PsPrint on Twitter.