Being a freelance writer comes in with risks. Time management, financial management and work-life balance are the obvious concerns; however, other risky habits have the potential to take a hit at your career as a freelance writer as well.
You are bound to make mistakes as you first start your freelance writing career. However, knowing about the unusual ones and avoiding them is a great way to ensure your productivity.
As a freelance writer, I fell into the trap of making these mistakes and learned the hard way. Here are the most significant ones that have plunged me into zero productivity and solutions to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes.
Non-stop work hours
You might think that working long hours will get you more money, but that is not true. On the contrary, it will drain your body and mind, taking your productivity and creativity to zero.
In a corporate space, you tend to manage to get small breaks in between meetings and tasks. However, finding this time out is tough when you’re freelancing.
Make sure that you take regular breaks while you work. Recharge yourself with healthy snacks and refresh your mind with meditation or music. Also, set an end time to your work hours, and try not to work after that time.
Taking up projects only for money
Although we all take this action solely for survival, it is one of the most productivity-killing habits. When you take up projects only for money, you tend to focus on the amount you’re getting paid instead of your interest in the topic. It is crucial as a writer to enjoy what you are writing.
Be thoughtful when you choose projects. Find a mix of assignments that you take up for money and others that you do because you are passionate about the topic. This will keep your creativity and productivity up to the optimum level while maintaining a balance between your finances and interests.
Skipping your reads
A writer’s mind, like a sword, needs to be sharpened regularly. What’s better than books and reading material. However, while writing for clients, you might neglect this essential habit limiting your creativity and productivity.
The solution to this is to dedicate an hour of reading time at the end of each day. Catch up with your favourite novel or scroll through social media – there’s a pool of good reads out there. You can even choose to read while commuting.
Resistance to networking
It is often the case for freelance writers that once you get a combination of clients, you tend to resist the urge to go out there and network. You get comfortable with your work and the people you work with, which keeps you off the grid.
Do not limit your scope. Be connected with the content industry. If attending networking events isn’t possible for you, then start by directly connecting with other writers and editors on social media.
Join social media groups that will keep you in the loop with everything happening around and save you of a client drops off a project last minute.
Editing and writing at the same time
You will try to write one article, take a break from it, edit another story, and get back to the first one. While this may seem to be effective, it doesn’t usually work if you are a writer.
Remember that writing and editing are two different tasks that require different mindsets. Keep separate time slots for each process and take between them to maximise your work efficiency.
Even better if you could do these on different days so that you can start with a fresh approach on each of them.
Not writing for yourself
Freelancing offers you the flexibility of time that you can use to write on the things you are passionate about. However, as you get more projects and assignments, you will tend to keep this on hold and focus on your clients’ work. This is the worst mistake that you can make as it will kill your productivity very quickly.
Writers’ block is real. Not letting our own thoughts out will make you feel nervous and creatively clogged. Working on multiple client projects will lead to a blockage in your views and opinions, which in turn takes your productivity down.
Write about your interest and passion. Keep an hour aside each day where you can write for yourself, even if that is just penning down your thoughts.
Not treating yourself as a brand
As freelancers, we do not treat ourselves as a brand. We consider ourselves as mere service providers, which seeds the lack of efficiency and seriousness. It is crucial to know your worth because that is what reflects in your work.
Being a freelance writer makes you a brand in yourself. Treat yourself as a professional and think as a company does. No matter what you are writing about, create an audience that is interested in your topic and market yourself to them. Build a reputation through your readers.
Freelance writing isn’t easy. The internet is filled with tips to make yourself better as a writer. Although it is essential to be aware of the harmful habits that are killing your productivity to avoid them, start with dodging these common ones while you simultaneously make yourself better at your work.