- Books, Literature, and Writing
How to find the time to write? Tips for freelancers, bloggers, ghost and content writers
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.