Maintaining productivity outside of an office environment can be difficult, especially for freelance writers who have no boss but himself or herself. You’ve got great resources to provide the best possible blogs, articles, and ebooks for your clients, but somewhere between the research and the editing, it’s easy to lose focus. The result is either a hastily completed project that meets deadlines but not much else, or well-executed content that’s a little too late.
You can change your daily routine to become insanely productive, though. All you need is the determination to make every minute, every hour, and every day count. Here are seven tips for freelance writers to become successful.
1. Plan Ahead
In order to keep from overloading your schedule, a weekly plan is important. When assignments come in, study your calendar for the week to see where you can handle additional work. Schedule each assignment for a particular time each day. If you receive too many assignments to handle within the week, start planning the next week, too.
2. Task List
Every evening, after finishing your assignments for the day, examine your schedule for the next day. Add the assignments to your to-do list in the order you must complete them. There is nothing more satisfying for freelance writers than seeing all tasks completed at the end of the day.
The task list also comes in handy when you receive requests for revisions or additions to previous work. You can make a note on your list and fit the smaller project between larger assignments. This way, nothing gets lost in the shuffle.
3. Research First
Research is especially important if your assignment falls outside your current knowledge base. You don’t want to sit down to write and then look up information on your topic. Instead, spend ten to fifteen minutes each day reading other blogs and articles on the subject. With more time to prepare and research, you’ll have time to develop your own opinions on the subject, which results in a more organic finished product. Otherwise, you’ll likely end up parroting what someone else wrote.
Create your headings and subheadings as you research so you’ll have direction when you sit down to complete the article or blog. Don’t be afraid to include everything in your outline; you can pare it down later to include only the most relevant and interesting information.
5. Save Links
Linking to other articles within your writing is a great way to open up the subject and also provide sources for your citations. Streamline the process by placing the links you hope to use in the outline as you go. As with any points in the outline you choose to discard, the links can also be deleted if you don’t use them. It’s much easier to cut extra material than to seek out your links after the article is finished.
No one likes to receive requests for revisions, but if you’re not vigilant when you write, you could get one of the dreaded demands. An easy way to avoid adding more tasks to your plate is to edit your work when you’re finished.
Freelance writers should understand that an edit isn’t solely for finding misspellings, bad grammar, and typos. You want to make sure your writing is cohesive, that all thoughts are developed, and that you avoid the use of passive verbs and phrases. The saying “show, don’t tell” is popular in fiction, but you should apply the same principle to your blogs and articles.
7. Peer Review
No matter how diligent you are in your edits, you’re always likely to miss something. Instead of wasting valuable time seeking out problems with your work that you won’t find, ask a trusted friend to read your work for you. Make sure this friend knows to be brutal when necessary.
The fresh eyes of someone else will catch those issues you missed. Receive the criticism with a grateful spirit and make the changes as you see fit. In addition to polishing your work, you may also just learn a thing or two.
Developing new habits is difficult. You’ll likely fall back into old patterns within a few days if you’re not careful. Freelance writers should make a point of following their new regime every day, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
What other habits help make you insanely productive? We’d love to share your thoughts with everyone, so leave us a comment!