Having a problem reaching a certain level of success as a writer? Don’t worry, many of us have a bit of a rocky start at first. The most important thing is not to get frustrated. There are many people who will start out strong but then slow down over time. I am one such individual. However, it is possible to refocus on your writing and get back on track.
How to Refocus on Writing
One thing I see a lot of is when writers come out strong and determined only to seemingly lose interest in the process a few months later. Those who have potential for improve decide to move on to something else. Others, such as myself, love to write but also fall to the wayside for various reasons.
While I believe that anyone can start a career in writing, it does take a certain type of individual to keep up the work. Not everyone who starts today will be writing successfully for clients a year down the road.
So, what do you do when you find yourself losing out on jobs and money as a freelance writer? That’s when you need to sit back and refocus on your efforts. As a result, you may revitalize yourself and perhaps even see your potential.
Here are seven questions I ask myself to help refocus my writing.
1. Are you scheduling enough time throughout the day?
Time scheduling is one of my biggest problems. Between being a procrastinator and easily getting sidetracked, it seems I never get in the time I want when it comes to writing anything. Sound familiar?
One way I try to refocus my efforts is by setting up goals throughout the day. For instance, I am a bit of a geek and track every minute and every word I create for clients. Each day, I try to beat my record for the amount of time I spend actually working on a project.
Even if you don’t set your own personal records, you should have an idea of how much you need to make in each day. Focus on at least meeting goals to get in enough of that work. Otherwise, you may find your payouts to be on the light side.
A lot of people think that by working from home, they have all the time in the world to get tasks done. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. In fact, a large portion of your clients are going to keep regular, 9-to-5 hours. This is especially true if your clients are business owners. Make sure you’re scheduling enough time to get the work done.
2. How much time are you truly wasting with diversions?
When you’re working from home, there are all kinds of things that divert your attention from working. For me, it’s a toss-up between YouTube and Netflix. In reality, anything that takes time away from actually typing for a client is something that is taking away from your income.
Because most freelancers are paid per job and not per hour, time is a valuable commodity. People like me are not paid when we get up to go to the bathroom or hang out at the water cooler discussing our weekends with co-workers. No. Every minute that I don’t spend typing a piece of content for a client is one that I am not paid.
Avoiding diversions throughout the day may be a very hard habit to break for many. But it’s one that needs to be done if you want to be successful and refocus yourself as a writer. This is true whether you’re creating a blog piece for a client or trying to put together your own novel.
3. How many outlets for writing have you collected?
I come across beginner writers all the time who focus on one single outlet to try to drive their careers. In reality, this could be a significant problem. You see, not all clients use the same methods when looking for writers. While I do tend to make far more money on Textbroker, I am also a member of several other sites.
Why is this important? Because it can help you keep a steady flow of income. When I first started, I had several brokerage sites open on my computer at any given time. This allows me to check for jobs on multiple sites and keep myself active. Remember, most of us are not paid per hour. If there is no work, there is no paycheck.
One of the best things you can do is keep your writing as active as possible. This means joining several brokerage sites, self-publishing outlets or any other opportunity that comes along. Trust me, there are plenty of writing gigs out there on the Internet.
4. How much marketing do you do for yourself?
As a freelancer, your name is your brand. Because there is so much competition for writers on the Internet, you need to give clients a reason to send you work. This means you need to put in the effort to market yourself as much as possible.
Keep Updated Profiles
If you use sites like Textbroker, you have a profile screen that is used by clients during a search. Keep these profiles constantly updated and complete. It’s like making sure all the fields are filled out in a resume.
Social media is your friend when it comes to promoting yourself as a professional. Create pages and use those for distribution to potential clients. This keeps your personal and professional profile separated.
Just like any other brand, marketing yourself will impact the amount of business you get from clients. No one is going to send you work if they don’t know you exist. There are many ways you can market yourself quite effectively online. It just takes a few moments of your time in most cases.
5. Do you practice good health and fitness?
What does good health have to do with writing? Everything. I’m not saying that you need to get ripped and slim in order to be successful. However, good health does play a role in how effective you are as a writer.
A lack of sleep will cause everything from heightened levels of stress to hallucinations. It only makes sense that it will also impact your ability to think as well as type. I know I am far more effective when I get a good night’s rest.
As a writer, your brain is one of the most active parts of the body. It needs to be healthy in order to concentrate better and process information. The foods you eat will impact brain health and help induce some of that clarity.
Being more active increases the flow of blood throughout the body, including the brain. This increase of flow delivers much needed components for the brain to work properly, such as oxygen. In fact, studies show that increasing physical activity improves the power of the mind.
6. Are You At a Comfortable Workstation?
Being comfortable is vital in any job or task you wish to accomplish. This is partly because discomfort increases your stress level. Yes, stress can be in the form of physical issues.
When your body is more stressed, it becomes more difficult to focus on your work. Your attention slowly moves from the project and on to the discomfort you’re experiencing. For me, I currently have a poor work station which causes all kinds of issues throughout the day.
I’m not saying you should go out and buy a whole new home office to induce comfort. However, even the smallest changes such as getting a cushion for your crappy chair can make a profound difference in how you refocus on writing.
7. Is writing something you truly want to do?
Many people will lose interest in just about any topic over time. This is the most common theme I’ve seen among many in why they stop writing. Whether it’s because they don’t make enough money or because they just can’t handle writing all day long, it clearly is something they do not wish to continue.
Writing full-time isn’t as easy as a lot of people would assume. My day is filled with staring at bright computer screens all day sitting in a terrible chair and working from a sub-standard desk. I research every piece I write. This all means I am mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the day.
Not everyone is capable of turning their writing hobbies into careers. Don’t feel bad if you’re in that group. Trust me, it can be quite a stressful experience if you’re truly not into creating 5,000 to 10,000 words per day for someone else.
It All Centers Around Effort
You can’t sit back and dream that someday success will just fall in your lap. You need to make it happen for yourself. Otherwise, you may never truly reach your potential and become frustrated in any activity. It all boils down to the effort you put into the project. This is true whether you’re trying to write a novel, learning a new skill or even losing weight. You are the one who is hindering your success.