Tip 2 for Living the Freelance Writing Life: Organize Your Time
The Next Step
Once you have a basic idea of what kind of writer you want to be, your next step is to find time to write. This sounds simple, but I have discovered that it is one of the hardest parts of being a writer. There will always be other responsibilities in your life and if you're like me, a full-time job can take up most of your waking hours. So, how do you find time to advance your writing career? Here are a few things I've learned.
Organize Your Schedule
The first step to find time to write is to create a list of everything you have to do in a week. Know what your schedule is for each day. You may have to spend a week tracking everything before you will truly know everything you have on your plate.
Once you have written your schedule down, you need to look it over and see what free time you have and where you can add more. It may be helpful to use a highlighter so you can see where your writing time is.
You also need to look for ways to add more time to your writing schedule. If you are just starting out, you should try to find at least 10-15 hours each week. As you get more work, you will need more hours. Right now, I'm working between 20 and 30 hours each week just on my writing.
Here are some suggestions on how you can create writing time where there is none:
- Get up earlier or stay up later. If you are busy getting kids ready for school and yourself ready for work, you may need to get up an hour earlier to write. For those who are not morning people, staying up after everyone else is asleep may be a better option. I have done both and sometimes in the same day.
- Ask for help from your spouse or kids. If you are the one who primarily does the shopping or runs errands, ask your spouse if they would help out. That could be two or three extra hours at one time.
- Order take out or fix extra meals on the weekend to warm up for dinner during the week. This could be another 30 minutes or an hour of writing time you gain.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. You will think of others as you study your schedule. The main thing to remember is to ask for help from your kids, your spouse, and even friends.
Items to Help You Organize
Organize Your Freelance Writing Time
Now that you know when you will spend your time writing, you need to know what you will be doing. Depending on what you are writing, you may need to divide the time. Here are a few categories that I use for my writing time:
- Research. This is the time I spend researching my articles.
- Writing. This is when I actually sit down and write.
- Marketing. I may promote my articles during this time or send out emails to potential clients or look for jobs on bidding sites.
- Administration. This may be billing a client or other tasks that are part of writing.
- Education. I include classes or courses as well as reading blogs of other writers or looking up information on writing.
How much time you spend with each item will depend on your goals and how much time you have. There are weeks when I spend every minute writing because I have deadlines and others that I spend most of my time marketing. The goal is to have a flexible schedule so that you don't neglect any area for too long.
Plan Time to Relax
This is the hardest suggestion for me to follow. Trying to have a growing writing career while working a full-time job and raising a toddler does not leave much me-time. It's far too easy to skip that part and concentrate on other things. However, if you don't take some time to relax and do what you enjoy, you will get burned out.
I know there will be people who say, "but I love writing." I do too, which is why I'm trying to make a career of it. However, sometimes I need to take out time to work on my novel or other writing that is not for clients. Writing articles here on Hubpages is also part of my relaxing time. Then there are times when I need to stop writing altogether and play on my Facebook apps or read a book.
Whatever you enjoy that allows you to relax should be budgeted into your time. Realistically, you may not have time every week, but try to fit it in at least once a month. It will energize you and keep you going until the next time.
Organizing is Necessary
Organizing your time is important if you want to see your writing career grow. It can be difficult and may take several attempts, but it can be done. It's amazing how much time you can find for something you love. And we writers love to write!
More information about getting organized
- Five Tips for Finding Writing Time | Copyblogger
- Organize Your Time to Boost Productivity | The Organized Life | Time Management
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