7 Professional Habits To Take Your Writing Career To The Next Level
Do you want to take your freelance writing career to the next level? You are not alone. Aspiring writers, newbies and even seasoned professionals may struggle with breaking out of a writing rut to move their writing careers forward.
Whether you are working a day job and freelancing at night, writing blog posts while your baby naps or freelancing full-time to support your family, these seven simple habits will take your writing
productivity, quality, and earnings to the next level.
- Stop procrastinating and start writing. Commit the phrase "write well and write often" to memory and repeat it regularly. Procrastination is a common malady among writers, and until you replace it with productivity your career won't get far. Stop wasting time and start writing every day. Exercise self-discipline to avoid distractions such as Facebook and Twitter while you are writing. As one writer I know says, "summon your inner boss" and give yourself a stern warning to focus on the task at hand, whether you are writing a blog post or full feature article. The more you write, the better the quality of your work will become. The more high quality work you produce the more your earnings will increase.
- Believe in yourself as a professional writer. This may sound simple but many writers struggle with self-confidence issues regarding their work. The way you view your writing is crucial to success in this career. Get serious about your writing by establishing habits that make you feel professional. This may mean maintaining a home office, dressing in office clothes before sitting down to write, or adhering to a strict writing schedule. Remember to respect your talent and time and present yourself as a professional to yourself and to others. Tip: reminding yourself that you are a professional when dealing with rejection is key to carrying on with your writing career. Don't give up!
- Write when you are most productive. This may require some experimentation, but it is well worth figuring out when you can best produce top quality content efficiently. For some, getting up at dawn to write for three hours prior to the rest of the household awakening is the best way to boost productivity, others are more effective working in the evening. Take breaks every 25 minutes to stretch, get a coffee or check email - but take no longer than five minutes.
- Set writing goals. As with so many things in life, setting clearly defined goals increases your chances of achieving them. Professional writers create business plans and check their progress quarterly. Set monthly income or publishing goals, and set weekly and daily activity goals based on word counts, pieces completed or dollar goals. Be sure to set goals that are challenging yet achievable.
- Analyze and adjust writing activities to meet your goals. Review your results on a monthly basis. Have you met your income goal? How about your publishing goal - how many articles have you published? If you are falling short of your income goal, you need to either increase your rates, find new clients or write more efficiently. Include marketing goals to find new freelance clients, and replace lower-paying assignments with better paying opportunities as your writing portfolio improves.
- Read great content and stay up-to-date on your niche topics. Good writers are constantly reading work by great writers. Learning to identify the characteristics of good content will help improve the quality of your writing, and help establish your reputation as a professional freelance writer. Staying current on the latest developments in your niche writing areas shows clients you are knowledgable. It also helps you to write more efficiently as you can quickly access current sources and articles in your areas of expertise.
- Organize your freelance writing! Decluttering your workspace, planning your schedule and organizing your assignments on your computer will benefit your writing career in many ways. Stay on top of your writing deadlines by using an online or paper-based calendar. Keep your daily work and special writing projects on track using checklists. Organize research material according to subject matter so you can easily reference it again for future articles, and bookmark your favorite websites as sources for blog posts and articles you have yet to write.
While a writing career may be more flexible than other professions, it is still a profession. Remember that you are a businessperson, and don't undervalue your time or talent. Believe in your skills, make professional decisions and watch your writing career soar to the next level.