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How to find the time to write? Tips for freelancers, bloggers, ghost and content writers

Updated on April 15, 2012

Finding the time to write is an uphill battle online writers face every day. Whether you are a full time writer, part time writer, publisher, blogger, freelancer, author or simply someone who takes up writing as a hobby, read on for tips that will help you learn how to find more time to write.

1) Limit your daily fixes

We writers are a creative bunch and find it hard to survive without our daily fixes - We are talking about the websites you check first thing every morning to catch up on news, gossip, pictures, videos, latest happenings and more. Examples are websites like Yahoo, Ninemsn, Facebook, Twitter etc. As a writer, you should limit the time that you spend on browsing your favorite websites if you want to find some more time to write. You may be spending an atrocious amount of time on these websites without even realizing.

2) Original writing is quickest

You may consider yourself to be very quick with finding your way around search engines and web portals. But the truth is, that nothing is as quick as writing original and unique articles that come from the heart and mind. Write, what you are comfortable writing and don't go way outside your comfort zone. Now it is impossible to write a complete article without adequate and intelligent research, but aligning your research with existing knowledge and original thoughts is the quickest way to write.

3) Know your research websites

Many content writers like to maintain a spreadsheet of the websites and information portals they like to visit for research. You can go one step ahead and classify your research portals according to the type of information they have to offer. For example, you may like to visit x.com for cooking, y.com for gardening and z.com for DIY stuff. So next time you feel like writing about cooking, you know exactly where to look for research rather than wasting time in the other millions of information portals out there. But make sure that you recycle and update this list of reference points every now and then so you are aware if there are new and better sources out there.

4) Don't get lost in Google

Google and other search engines deliver fantastic results. Well, that can be a problem. We often get lost in the search results and open one interesting link after the other. Interest and passion often overtakes the common sense of limiting the time that is being spent on reviewing and analyzing search results. This, as you may have understood by now, is not a good thing when it comes to finding the time to write. So next time when you are writing and using a search engine, limit the amount of time you spend going through the results. If you are not writing, feel free to spend hours and enjoy your armchair travelling!

5) Eliminate external distractions

To find time to write, you must start eliminating all the external distractions. Treat the time spent writing like the time you'd spend while working in an office. Say no to unimportant phone calls and definitely say no to nagging family members who disregard your writing as too miniscule in the bigger scheme of things. There may be many other external distractions that are unique to your situation and environment. Shut them out while you are trying to write.

6) Cut the time that you spend writing emails

Emailing is the primary communication channel when it comes to the world of online interaction. But you must realize that no matter how hard you try, communicating via email will realistically always be slower than actual talking. So prioritize your emails and organize your inbox to effectively manage your emails and spend less time in your inbox, and more time for your writing.

7) Limit addictions and habits

Do you have addictions or habits that take up your time every now and then? Let's consider a typical example of smoking. Writing is often very stressful and smokers can often be lured into the trap of writing for half an hour, then going for a smoke, and repeating the same cycle over and over again. Besides the fact that smoking is not good for your health, it also steals vital time that you're finding to focus on your writing.

8) Learn the shortcuts of applications that you use

This applies to all the non tech savvy writers out there. To cut down the time you spend writing, editing and publishing your work, you must be well aware of the various shortcuts that you can use to speed up your work. This includes shortcuts for word, windows and mac based applications and any other software or operating system that you might be using. Using shortcuts as a tool to find time to write may sound silly, but if you look at the bigger picture, every moment saved adds up. This may seem like a burdensome effort right now, but think of the effort you put in to learn the shortcuts today as an asset you are building for tomorrow.

9) Don't waste time imitating style of other writers

Many bloggers and writers make the mistake of trying to imitate and copy the style and personality of other successful writers. Well, just because they've got their profile on the first page of your writing portal does not mean that their writing style is the be all and end all of online writing. Carve out your own writing style and develop your own niche. Copying and imitating others will not only take more time, but will also limit your own creativity.

10) Always think of cost vs. benefit

Whether you are ghost writing as a freelance writer or publishing for your own self, a key factor to keep in mind is cost vs. benefit. If you really want to find more time to write, you will need to start thinking "Is the amount of time I spend writing this worth the expected or possible revenue?" Be warned, this in no way implies that you spend less time writing an article because that will only lead to substandard and low quality writing. This again brings us to one of the points that we discussed above. There are no shortcuts. Write from your heart, it will always be quicker and better than anything out there.

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    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 5 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      You must be psychic! I've just been sitting here in a world of my own instead of writing!!! Excellent advice I can really relate to. I always write from my heart, I can't do it otherwise. Words flow naturally from people in different ways, why try to immitate someone else? Voted up, useful and interesting. Thanks, just what I needed!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I appreciate what you wrote because it it very focused and very specific. And very realistic about the changes and sacrifices a person has to make if they want to excell at something. My writing is done almost exclusively within a university and historical research context, but almost everything you mentioned applies equally to those of us in academia. Great Hub - carefully thought out and well written. Theresa

    • Majadez profile image

      Maja Dezulovic 5 years ago from Johannesburg, South Africa

      "Write from your heart." That is the best way, isn't it? I've often surprised myself. The writing that was the quickest and most impulsive - i.e. it came from the heart and I just let it all out, always came out better than the stuff I'd spend hours putting together and gathering new information. The heart is always the best place to start. Editing comes later... Thanks for the reassurance.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

      One distraction that cannot be eliminated and I have no desire to reduce my time with her is Amy. she must have all my attention when she wants it! My cat is more important than my writing. But other things, yes, distractions need to be reduced.

      As for the way I write, I find it easiest to write when I love my topic.

    • Zabbella profile image

      Zabbella 5 years ago from NJ-USA

      Thank you for the tips. I do write from the heart because I write about what I like. I am afraid that if I write too many things from the heart, my hubs would be sub-standard because they would be too personal. I don't understand too much about that.

    • profile image

      Husky1970 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for this hub, princesswithapen, I will surely try to adopt several of these tips to increase my writing productivity. One of my addictions is golf and it is quite time consumming. I don't think lessening that is in the picture quite yet, however.

      This is an excellent hub. Very useful and interesting and voted accordingly,

    • jcoop profile image

      jcoop 5 years ago from Long Beach, California

      some great tips, thanks

    • princesswithapen profile image
      Author

      princesswithapen 5 years ago

      Tara

      We all have moments of being lost in our worlds. By no mean is that unnecessary because a lot of creativity stems from gazing into the unknown. What is difficult is doing a balancing act of wandering between wandering and writing!

      I'm glad you found these tips useful.

      P

    • princesswithapen profile image
      Author

      princesswithapen 5 years ago

      phdast7

      You really hit the nail on the head when you said "....about the changes and sacrifices a person has to make if they want to excell at something.." Wonderful!

      Appreciate your feedback.

      P

    • princesswithapen profile image
      Author

      princesswithapen 5 years ago

      Majadez

      Yes, writing from the heart is not only quick, it really comes across as meaningful to your readers. I'm glad you talk about impulsive writing, because that is what writing is all about. Its like sitting on a lazy Sunday morning and suddenly having the impulsive urge and idea to write on a fascinating idea that has just crossed your mind. Unbeatable!

      P

    • princesswithapen profile image
      Author

      princesswithapen 5 years ago

      Flora

      Amy is a very lucky cat to have someone caring and loving to look after her. And your love for your topics really shines through in your writing!

      P

    • princesswithapen profile image
      Author

      princesswithapen 5 years ago

      Hi Zabbella

      Prima facie, it is okay to write about things that are close to your heart. It is understandable if you think that your writing gets too personal and less engaging from the readers point of view. To cure this, you can try and tweak it a bit so the readers too can relate to the situation or the feelings that your write about. Most of us believe that passionate writing can never be sub standard.

      P

    • princesswithapen profile image
      Author

      princesswithapen 5 years ago

      Husky

      If golf is your passion, don't even think of limiting your time spent on the golf course. Why not combine your passion for golf and your passion for writing, and write more hubs on golf? I'm sure avid golfers can learn a lot from tips and tricks that you may have to share about anything and everything relating to golf. Straight from the coaches mouth. Unbeatable combination, I'd say.

      P

    • princesswithapen profile image
      Author

      princesswithapen 5 years ago

      jcoop

      I'm glad you think so and thanks for stopping by!

      P

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Many great tips here... thank you for sharing...

      Blessings

    • princesswithapen profile image
      Author

      princesswithapen 5 years ago

      Rolly

      The internet is an ocean of information and as an online writer, it is easy to get lost flipping through page after page of an interesting website. I am hoping that these tips help you get yourself organized and find the time to write.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Princesswithapen

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