Working from home can be fun, rewarding and profitable…as long as you have the right mindset. In order to succeed, you need to put in a fair amount of effort. Whether you’re planning on ghostwriting like I do or looking to write a best seller, it all centers around how serious you are. Speaking from experience, it can be difficult at times to succeed as a writer working from home.
7 Steps to Succeed as a Writer From Home
Over the past four-and-a-half years, I have come across a variety of situations while writing from home. It’s not always going to be easy sailing. I know a lot of people who think being able to work from home is perfect. But it’s only perfect if you make it so. Here are seven steps that can help you realize your potential and what you can accomplish.
Step 1: Find a Workspace
Find an area of the home you can work from in peace. If you have a large family, this may be difficult to accomplish. Personally, my “office” is tucked in a corner of my bedroom because everyone else kicked me out of the computer room. It’s difficult to concentrate on an order for a client or writing that awesome piece of fiction when kids and family are screaming in your ear.
Step 2: Perhaps a Messy Desk is Ideal
I know I’ve stated how keeping a neat and tidy desk can have it’s advantages when it comes to keeping a professional persona. However, some studies show how a messy environment can stimulate creativity. For example, those who have a messy desk are more likely to think outside of the box. Those with a clean desk are more conventional while those in unkempt areas are more apt at exploring new ideas.
As a ghostwriter, a clean desk may be more ideal. Most clients want content that is fact-driven without too much of a creative flare. Although any piece you write will need a bit of an artistic nuance to it, you still need to avoid “fluff” and content stuffing. It’s all about the facts and delivering it in a way where readers can absorb the material.
For those who are looking to write their next big novel, a messy desk may be the best way to go. My desk is a wreck both at home and at my office across town. Since your material may be based more on creativity, such as writing a science fiction novel, a cluttered desk may be perfect. That is, according to those studies.
Step 3: Scheduling Your Time Wisely
This is something I have a hard time doing, so I know how vital it can be to success. Figuring out a schedule when you’re the most productive can be influential in helping you succeed as a writer. For instance, I’ve found that I receive more revision requests from clients through articles I write at night. I suppose it’s more difficult for me to keep focused on the content after a long day.
A lot of people get in the mindset that working from home means freedom to do what they want. In reality, you still need to adhere to some form of schedule if you want to be successful. Not all clients operate the same hours of the day. While you still may have a bit of freedom to get in a quick round of golf or go out for lunch, bare in mind that most clients need their pieces done during business hours.
A creative writer has a bit more freedom than a ghostwriter. However, keeping a schedule can help you stay focused on being productive. It can be very easy to get sidetracked doing “fun” stuff throughout the day and miss out on writing part of that novel or short story.
Step 4: Understand the Importance of Marketing
I can’t push this topic enough. Marketing is how you’re going to be recognized as a professional whether you’re a ghostwriter or a novelist. If people don’t know who you are, the chances of being successful are lower. Things like social media and blogging are good ways to get your name out there to the world. However, it may take a great deal of time before your name becomes synonymous with your profession.
There is a great deal of competition in the world today. Ghostwriters and novelists alike have to set themselves aside from the others in order to succeed. Otherwise, clients and fans can simply move on to the next person.
Step 5: Keep Learning
The more you know, the more valuable you become – both as a ghostwriter and as an author. Don’t assume that you know all you need in order to succeed. Through education, whether it’s in front of Google or in a college classroom, you will tighten your skills and hone your talents.
I spend a great deal of time reading various blogs and articles every day. I value knowledge and use it to boost my professionalism. If I had the money for a college writing course, and the time, I would definitely consider going. You may know enough to get started immediately, but learning more about your industry will vastly improve your ability to succeed.
Step 6: Treat it Like a Career
Effort is the key to building yourself as a professional. If you put in less effort as a writer, you won’t have as good of an experience. For instance, a person who puts in an hour a day won’t have the same experience as someone who puts in four hours a day. Even when you’re not actually writing, do something that boosts your abilities.
If you’re following a career path at some corporation, are you working one or two hours a day? Probably not. Someone who focuses on their career does everything possible to enhance the ability to succeed, and so should you.
Step 7: Realize that it May Take Time
One of the biggest problems I come across from others is the inability to realize that working from home doesn’t mean get-rich-quick. If you want a legitimate way to make money doing something you love, it’s going to take time to reach a certain level of success. Don’t assume that you can step into the world of writing content making a lot of money.
For instance, I worked as technical support for the school district for a year and two months while writing from home. It took me that long to reach a place in my writing income that I could quit my day job. You may be able to beat my record or it may take you longer. The point is that you need to realize that it may take a bit of time to get the ball rolling.
You Control Your Success
How you approach writing from home will determine whether you’ll succeed or fail. There is plenty of work for ghostwriters and plenty of ways to publish novels for free, so these cannot be used as excuses. When working from home, you’re the only one holding yourself back. Don’t let one or two bad experiences keep you from doing something you love. Otherwise, you might find yourself stocking shelves at Walmart instead of writing the next New York Times Best Seller.