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Sometimes, finding the motivation to write is as daunting as writing itself. But if you can find something that works for you, it can make a world of difference in your life. Whether it’s writing a novel or making more money, it’s all about what gets “you” writing.
What will drive you to start typing or putting pen to pad?
Getting Motivation to Write as a Freelancer
First, let me put it out there that this isn’t merely a list that I put together from other bloggers. These are things I do on a daily basis to help drive the motivation to write more or even create a YouTube video.
Working from home isn’t the easy, laid-back experience some would like you to believe. For many of us, it’s more difficult to work from home than it would be to work at a major corporation.
This is because of all the things we need to face when we’re in charge of ourselves.
There’s no boss looking over your shoulder, it’s easy to pick up a remote and watch TV and you can spend a lot of time in a negative headspace. Things like these can easily sap your motivation to write.
Being successful involves finding ways to keep your head in the game when working from home. After all, if you’re a freelance writer, a lack of productivity means a lack of income.
So, here are 11 methods I use for getting inspired to write.
1. Find Your Peak Performance Time-frame
When I began my career as a freelance writer, I was doing so after my regular full-time job. Which meant most of my work was done at night. This worked out OK for a little while, but I found I was far more productive first thing in the morning.
Finding the best time for yourself to write is key to driving success.
Think about it; are you really going to feel motivated if you’re tired, stressed or have a lot of other things on your mind?
Once I switched to mornings and writing the same hours as most businesses are open, the number of words I produced in a single day nearly doubled. The obvious result is making more money as a freelance writer.
Not to mention how I also needed to do fewer revisions as my mind was more focused.
This is perhaps one of the hardest points in this list. Everyone is different, and finding when you are the most productive is going to take a bit of trial and error.
Experiment by writing a week or two straight at a specific time-frame. This will help you find when you’re doing the best work.
2. Get Energized
The first thing I do in the morning is to find ways to energize myself. It’s all about getting into that positive mindset and getting inspired to write.
Like finding your peak performance time above, you’ll need to find something that gets you energized.
Exercising…Yes, It Makes a Difference
Studies show how exercise improves productivity. There’s a lot of things that go on inside you while working up a sweat. It affects everything from energy levels to stress reduction.
The first thing I do every morning is to find a way to work up a sweat. This is done either through playing the Xbox Kinect, going for a walk or getting on my bike and riding a couple of miles.
Don’t Forget Comfort
Something else that a lot of people don’t realize is how comfort can affect energy levels. For instance, a poor night’s rest can leave you feeling lethargic and less motivated.
For example, I am far more productive after spending $200 on a nice office chair than I was sitting in a $25 Walmart special. A good chair is an incredible investment! My back hurts less and I am more likely to focus on work.
Physical discomfort will affect your performance when sitting at a desk for extended periods of time.
3. View Yourself as a Professional
Probably one of the most important aspects of this list is to view yourself as a professional. Clients are paying you for writing good content. The moment you accept that first dollar, you are a professional writer.
First thing in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror. What do you see? The first answer that comes to your mind should be, “a professional.” Because that is what you are if you accept money for your talents.
You can be an expert and not see a dime. But a professional is paid for their ability to write content. Even if you have to psyche yourself up every morning in the mirror, drill it into your head that you are a professional.
Dress for Success
One thing I found early on is I have greater motivation to write if I dress for success. I know a lot of people who can sit in their pajamas and crank out line after line of content. I am not one of them.
As soon as I dress in business-casual attire, I am in “professional mode.” Not to mention I feel more comfortable when chatting online or doing video conferences with clients if I am dressing the part.
I’m not saying you should throw on a suit or dress pants. Remember, comfort is still a priority. However, getting into that professional mindset is often linked to looking and feeling as though you belong as a freelance writer.
4. Set Personal Goals
Since the first days of writing content, I worked on setting goals for myself. Whether it’s counting the number of words I type, the amount of time I spend writing or the amount of money I make, I strive to achieve goals.
Personally, I use a spreadsheet to keep track of everything I do as a freelancer and as a blogger. At any given time, I can tell you exactly how much I make per year and how long the average piece of content will take me to write.
Be Realistic with Goals
One thing you need to keep in mind about goals is being realistic with yourself. If you set objectives that are incredibly high, you may be setting yourself up for failure. And this can easily sap the motivation to write.
Start off small and work yourself up into becoming better. Instead of saying, “I want to make a million dollars this year as a freelance writer,” look at your current productivity. Then, try to surpass those numbers tomorrow.
Break Up Larger Goals into Smaller Ones
My favorite way to achieve large goals is to break them up into smaller ones. This makes the main objective easier to accomplish and can help inspire you to write more often.
For instance, one of my goals this year is to write one million words. That means I need to write at least 19,231 words per week. It sounds like a lot, right?
Now, let’s say I focus on writing Monday through Friday. That 19k number then gets broken down to 3,847 per day. That sounds a lot easier to accomplish than 19,000 words. As long as I hit 3,847 words Monday through Friday, I will reach one million by the end of the year.
My point is to break goals up into smaller chunks that make them seem more obtainable. It will help fuel motivation to write and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or unaccomplished.
5. Create a Writing Atmosphere
Having an ideal atmosphere when you’re writing can influence productivity. Remember, it’s all about delivering that professional mindset I mentioned earlier. However, a lot can go into creating that perfect place to write.
For me, it’s spending time to clean my desk in the morning. That’s because I can easily wreck the top of my desk with randomness that makes it more difficult to take notes or find something I might need.
Temperature, Light and Cleanliness
A lot of studies demonstrate how ambient temperature can affect productivity. Many find that temperatures between 70 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for office-type work. And this includes freelance writing from home.
The amount of lighting in your workspace can also influence productivity. And I can speak from experience on this point. Having a more “white light” kind of feel made a vast improvement in my motivation to write.
And I know a lot of people who are more productive with a messy desk. Some days I can write an incredible amount of content even if I have dishes piled on my desk to the point of not seeing the monitor.
However, I also find that having a nice and neat workspace is greatly beneficial. For one thing, I can find my pens and notebooks much easier.
6. Remove Distractions
Distractions are perhaps one of the worst elements for motivation to write. This is especially true if you’re working from home.
For example, I often get sucked into watching YouTube and Netflix from my computer when I should be writing or blogging. Before I know it, the day is spent and I get angry at myself.
Try to keep yourself focused on writing during your peak time-frame. I know it can be difficult, but it will help keep you motivated.
I usually try to watch my favorite YouTube shows after I am done writing for the day. I’ve set a block of time from 9am to 5pm as my writing schedule and will wait until after I “clock out” for the day before watching my shows.
It doesn’t always work out that way. But when it does, I get far more accomplished.
7. Gamify Writing
Gamification is when you take a normal, mundane task and turn it into a game of some kind. In fact, it’s popularity has inspired many businesses to find ways to make work “entertaining.”
See, when you’re enjoying an activity because it’s fun, you’re more likely to continue. The moment you view the activity as more of a mundane chore, you start to dread getting up in the morning.
Make a Game out of Your Goals
One thing that drives motivation to write for me is making a game out of the experience. Which is why I record everything into a spreadsheet. Then again, I am a bit of a geek when it comes to collecting data.
Find a way to make your goals fun. Give yourself a prize at the end of a day for doing good. Reward yourself with extra break time if you complete a certain number of words in an hour.
Try to make freelance writing fun for yourself.
Strive to Break Personal Records
I love breaking personal records. It inspires me to do more and improve myself. In fact, this process has not only helped me become a better writer, but I’ve also lost 80 pounds and am in the best shape I’ve ever been.
It starts by finding your baseline of productivity. Usually, I’ll record about a month’s worth of numbers. Then, I will do what I can to beat my daily averages.
In this regard, I am in competition with myself. Instead of trying to keep up with what someone else can do, I strive for self-improvement.
8. Using the Buddy System
You can find the motivation to write by hanging out with others who are like-minded. The buddy system works great, especially if you can interact on a regular basis. Not only can you make a few new friends, but it can be incredibly inspirational.
Join Writing Groups on Social Media
One thing you can do to get encouragement is to join social groups and interact. For instance, you can join a variety of Facebook groups for writers to bounce ideas, have inspirational chats and engage with others who are in the same boat.
Using Twitter isn’t bad, but it doesn’t have the same “group” atmosphere as something like Facebook or Reddit.
I am still debating on building a social hub here on WriterSanctuary.com to build a community, that’s how important I believe networking is.
Be Part of a Local Community
Being a part of a local community is a great way to find inspiration to write. You can usually find these by going through something like Meetups.com. In fact, Meetups happen all the time specifically centered around writing.
For instance, I find a lot of inspiration for working with WordPress by going to WordCamps and local meetups.
This atmosphere is similar to finding online social groups. It’s about connecting with others who may influence your career path and inspire you to do more.
9. Sharing on Social Media
One of the reasons why I built some of my blogs and YouTube channels in the first place was to find motivation. Since I don’t have a “boss” looking over my shoulder as a freelance writer, I needed a method to be held accountable.
And it’s this accountability that you want from sharing on social media. Even if only one person reads your post, it might help with your motivation to write.
Lately, social interaction is what motivates me to create more YouTube videos. However, it is starting to influence my creativity as well.
Not Letting Your Audience Down
Perhaps the biggest motivation for me is not letting my audience down. Every day that I don’t produce a blog post or create a YouTube video, I feel like I am disappointing fans and followers.
And it inspires me to keep up and get more done throughout the day.
But what about sharing your progress on social if you’re freelance writing for a client? Obviously, you don’t want to share sensitive information on social media. However, you can market yourself and state how you are going to do “X” number of words today for clients.
It’s never too early to market yourself professionally and demonstrate your commitment to completing projects.
10. Don’t Forget to Take a Break
Don’t forget to take breaks throughout the day. Overworking and pushing yourself too hard will impact how productive you are.
Stress can easily dissolve any motivation to write. So, it’s always a good idea to get up and take a breather. For me, it’s all about walking around outside and getting some fresh air and sunshine.
Even if you don’t feel accomplished, take a moment and collect your thoughts. Plus, it’s always good to get a fresh perspective on a project after taking a break.
11. Realize You’re Not Failing
Nothing is ever truly a failure as long as you learn from the experience. If you don’t get as much done today, take a moment to look back and figure out why. Then, do what you can to overcome that shortcoming tomorrow.
Take each day one at a time and strive to do better than you did yesterday.
Once you start feeling like a failure, it will affect any motivation to write you may have. Try to focus more on the positive and take notes regarding how you can improve.
Find Your Own Motivation to Write
Keep in mind, this list is what helps me get inspired to write. You may have other things that help drive success. Find what works best for you and stick with the process.
As a freelance writer from home, you’re accountable to yourself. Tomorrow, be more than you are today…even if it’s just producing 50 more words.
Any victory is still a victory.