As a ghostwriter, you need to come to terms that the workflow will at some point slow. Just like any other industry, there will be ups and downs in the flow of available jobs. While these lulls can be very hard on you financially, you shouldn’t let them prevent you from being productive. In fact, there are a number of things you can be doing when there is no work available.
When you work from home, it can be incredibly easy to find distractions while waiting for some work to come in. Some will play video games, others like myself might tune in to Netflix. The trick is to keep productive with activities that benefit your career.
Maintain a Blog
A blog is nice to break up your day because it helps focus your abilities while giving you something productive to do. In this instance, a blog is more than merely a platform to share opinions or experiences. It can be very beneficial to a writer. For instance, a blog can:
- Help increase your typing skills
- Allow you to work on your grammar and proofreading abilities
- Give you an online portfolio in the event someone wants to hire you
- Help bring in a few extra dollars if you monetize it
People blog for a variety of different reasons. Personally, I like to help people. Others do so just because they enjoy that personal connection with an audience. What ever your reasons are, blogging can help you develop as a ghostwriter when there is no work to do today.
Look for New Brokerage Sites
There are several quality sites like Textbroker on the Internet. Some just take a bit of digging to find. When there is no work available on one, there may be on another. At one point, I was bouncing back and forth between two throughout the day.
When you expand the number of locations you work with, you expand the potential for keeping yourself busy. With all of the freelancing sites that are available online, it may be possible to eliminate the lulls in workload.
I have a small list of sites here, at Writer Sanctuary. These are sites that I’ve personally verified that pay. They are also the tip of a very large iceberg in terms of freelancing. I would list more, but I usually don’t have the time with all of the other projects I do. At any rate, they may be a great place for you to start.
Pay Attention to Social Media – Professionally
Ok, when I say pay attention to social media, I don’t mean posting a bunch of cat videos or playing online games in Facebook. Every social channel can be used as a way to market yourself as a writer. For instance, make a professional page for yourself on Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. I even have professional pages for Twitter and YouTube.
The reason why you would want to spend a few moments updating professional profiles is to help boost your reputation as a writer. According to Business News Daily, as many as 60% of hiring managers take to social media to research job applicants. As many as 53% said they are looking for professional online personas.
Because social media plays such an integral role in society, it is being used as a tool more now than ever before. This means you need to develop something that is professional that can draw a prospective client or employer.
Just make sure your drunken pictures on Facebook and Twitter are not posted on your professional accounts.
Explore Your Preferred Niche
Every ghostwriter has a preferred niche they would rather write. For me, I was keen on tech and computers. Now, it’s business and marketing. Which ever you prefer, it can be greatly beneficial to learn more about what you create for clients.
The more you know about a specific topic, the easier and faster you can complete jobs. While I still suggest diversifying yourself, which can be helpful when there is no work available, reading up on trends and news is a bonus.
Knowledge also allows you to deliver incredibly accurate work to your clients. This has potential to keep you writing no matter how low the work levels reach.
Write Your Own Novel
Writing your own novel can be a great way to focus your time, especially if you truly plan on publishing the piece. However, you need to be aware of the differences in writing styles. There is a big difference between AP-style English and Oxford-style.
Most clients prefer AP-style when writing content. Things like serial commas, quotes and even period placements are a bit different. It can be a pain to switch back and forth. However, it is possible as long as you’re paying attention when proofreading.
One of the hardest parts about writing your own novel when there is no work to do is being able to stop. Sometimes when the flow is just write, you could easily find yourself writing for hours. In the mean time, jobs may come available that you could be missing.
If you’re a full-time ghostwriter such as I, this means you won’t get paid for the time you’re working on your book.
Over time, you’ll get a feel of what your recent clients are looking for. It doesn’t hurt to practice this skill even if you’re not selling the piece. In fact, a lot of ghostwriters will have content already completed to sell off when the right job comes around.
I have been toying with using Constant Content to practice writing. It’s a system that allows you to post a range of content while selling off those pieces. Their editors are pretty strict, so it can be great practice to learn some of the things you need to work on.
Keep Profiles Current and Updated
I don’t spend as much time keeping my profile updated as I should. Essentially, I merely forget most of the time. For example, there is a sample article on Textbroker that I wrote back in 2012. My writing has come a long way since then.
Keeping your profile updated helps clients find you on brokerage sites like Textbroker. The more detailed you are in your abilities, the better are the chances of getting work. I’ve collected a lot of clients and have been invited to many teams because of it.
Since there is no work for you to do, it’s a great use of your time.
Always Keep Productive
I know it can be very difficult to keep focused when you’re not getting paid and work is gone. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remain as productive as possible. These are only a few ways that I keep working throughout the day even if there is nothing to do in the writer’s queue.
When you’re faced with the dilemma of no work, don’t get sucked into Netflix or gaming. Try to do something that will boost your abilities or make yourself more attractive to clients. Be professional, and you’ll eventually find yourself with an overabundance of work.