When your income is determined by the amount of content you create, the pressure to be productive as a freelance writer can be debilitating.
Don’t allow diminished output to be the white whale of your writing career. Increase your writing productivity with these six easy suggestions:
Create a Flexible Schedule
Freelance writers need a daily writing plan to stay on track, especially if they juggle simultaneous projects or write several articles per day. But when using a schedule, permit some flexibility. Don’t become so tied to your calendar that you deny your own creative impulses. Allow yourself to be inspired rather than shying away from bursts of genius simply because your writing plan dictates you finish an assignment. Your schedule should drive you, not dominate you.
Get Some Air
You’ll be more productive if you learn to take breaks. Staring at a blinking cursor for hours on end is the antithesis of productivity, as is forcing yourself to type lifeless paragraphs you’ll delete at the end of the day. When your productivity is waning, seek a change in scenery. Take a walk around your block, go for a short drive, or simply open your front door and inhale. Fresh air equals a fresh perspective.
Improve Your Typing Skills
Typing well doesn’t inherently mean that you will write well, but well-founded typing skills make it easier to convert thoughts into text. Improving your typing speed and accuracy will mediate those instances when your brain fires ideas faster than your fingers can document, as well as lessen the time you and your editor spend proofreading.
Thanks to the World Wide Web, there are a ton of free and fun online typing tools that make exciting work of otherwise bland skill assessments. Websites like 10 Fast Fingers and TypeRacer test your speed, accuracy, and keystroke count. TypeRacer even allows you to enter a carnival style typing competition against your friends or other Internet users where your “digital car” is fueled by your typing speed and accuracy. Some challengers clock in at over 180 wpm!
Log out of Your Social Media Accounts
Social media is a double-edged sword for freelance writers. As much as an online presence is vital to building your platform, it is equally detrimental to writing productivity.
No matter how passionate you are about a project, it’s practically impossible to compete when you see dramatic changes in relationship statuses, 140-character celebrity meltdowns, hypnotic photos of decadent foods, or cats. It’s always the cats.
Before you start writing, sign out of your social media accounts and implement the following additional strategies to disengage from digital socialization during work hours:
• Manage separate user accounts and browsers for your personal and professional Internet needs
• Turn off social media notifications on your mobile devices
• Don’t check your social media accounts until the end of your work day
In addition to enhancing your physical well-being, exercise boosts your brain. For up to three hours after a workout you can enjoy the benefits of heightened focus, which clears the way for increased writing productivity. Before you pen your next project, complete 30 minutes of physical activity. This short burst of exercise will provide you with more motivation and energy to write.
Take Pride in Your Work
Despite the widespread respect given to writer greats like Shakespeare, Faulkner, and Melville, modern writers are often viewed as hobbyists playing Pretend Career rather than as legitimate, studied professionals.
When this dismissiveness perpetuates, we writers begin to doubt ourselves and our work. We put off projects, abandon new ideas, and apologize to our families for taking time to write. Combat writer stereotyping by being proud of your work. After all, believing in your writing makes you want to do more of it.
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