Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
January has been a relatively good month for me in terms of writing. I’ve been able to power through a lot of my projects like a locomotive careening across the tracks. So, how did I keep January ahead of last year’s average in terms of productivity?
Well, by sticking to the plans I had set up back in November. Sure, there were a few hiccups here and there, and January wasn’t a record-breaking month. However, I still managed to surpass the average per-month word count for 2022.
In case you’re curious, I wrote an average of 60,691 words each month last year. That’s a mix of client work, blogs, YouTube scripts and descriptions, and my books.
How I Am Maintaining a Successful Streak
On any given day, I can produce an incredible amount of content. No, I’m not superhuman or some kind of human/bot hybrid. I’ve just spent the last decade continuously fine-tuning my skills.
It’s not something that most people can accomplish overnight. Especially when you consider how much time I’ve spent learning all that I can. Unlike some out there today, I don’t have AI creating my content for me.
So, how am I still making this year one of my most epic?
Maintaining My Work Schedule
Since November of 2022, I spent a great deal of time restructuring my day and finding what works best. There were a lot of ideas that didn’t quite make the cut, but that’s the whole idea of trying something new.
Over the last two months, I attempted various ways to go about my day. And I was able to come up with a strategy that keeps me far more productive, especially for the things that matter most to me.
Since I work from home, I’m capable of maneuvering my day in a myriad of ways. However, I find that when I keep the same hours as most businesses, my clients are very appreciative.
That’s because all of my freelance writing clients are businesses that keep certain hours of operation.
If you’re just starting your writing career, understand that it could take a bit of time to find the flow that works best for you. Perhaps you’ll get lucky and immediately hit your stride. But if not, know that you’re not alone. Don’t bank on instant success with your time.
Strict Adherence to My Blocks of Time
Speaking of time, one of the most impactful elements of my success in January is the strict adherence to my schedule. I set up my days in advance using Asana, and then I knock out each project one by one.
Now, some of you might be wondering why this is such an accomplishment. Well, I have a habit of getting sidetracked relatively easily with other minor projects throughout the day.
By forcing myself to maintain order and only work on the projects that are scheduled, I have been able to get far more done in my day.
When you have an ultra-chaotic life, it’s easy to get sidetracked by various things. Instead of working on a blog post, your book, or a client’s order in Textbroker, you could be taking care of kids, family, or otherwise maintaining the home.
I maintain success by keeping strict adherence to my blocks of time. Or, at least as close as I can, depending on what’s going on.
Two Hours On, 30 Minutes Off
Recently, I stumbled upon an incredible method of managing my day. I work non-stop for two hours and then take a 30-minute break. I’ll do this from 8 am to 5:30 pm. And I’m perfectly fine with having a 30-minute lunch.
I microwave my meals at lunchtime anyway.
Although in the past, I usually stuck to an ultradian rhythm of about 90-minute intervals, I’ve been far more productive and focused. I’m not nearly as stressed throughout the day and have been able to get so much done both for work and around the house.
I’m not saying that you must follow this example. The point is that finding the best pattern for yourself throughout the day can make a profound impact on how you handle the workload. Experiment with your day and find something that keeps you going.
Planning Out Content Ahead of Time
Lately, I’ve been using a similar content strategy for my blogs as I use for my clients. I know, it’s something I should have been doing for the past 10 years.
That’s what happens when you don’t take yourself seriously.
Setting up my own system and planning out the content ahead of time means I can jump right in and start typing as soon as my block of time comes up.
To do this, I’ll spend an hour or so coming up with ideas for content, researching keyphrases, analyzing competition, and structuring basically how I want the post or video to flow.
Having a content strategy, whether it’s for yourself or your clients, will save you a lot of time and hassle later on. It’s OK to take suggestions from experts on how they run their day. But it’s still up to you to put together a strategy that fits your needs and wants.
Being Confident in What I Create
One of the biggest issues I’ve seen from many writers is a lack of confidence. This is especially rampant on Twitter, for some reason.
I’m confident in every piece of content I create, whether it’s a blog post or a book. Do they all land well with their target audiences? Nope. But that doesn’t take the fact away that I am confident in what I write.
Everyone has an audience. Even the worst story ever written has a bit of a cult following nowadays. In fact, reading it is one of my goals for Creative Sanctuary this year.
My point is that you need to build up confidence if you want to be taken seriously as a writer. This is true whether you’re writing a book and looking for an agent or trying to make money from home by picking up private clients.
When you’re confident about yourself and what you put out in the world, you’ll see a massive difference in how others perceive you. This can lead to a plethora of opportunities that you never knew existed.
You could wake up one day and start planning for a talk at the local Wordcamp to share your insights with 30 or so patrons regarding while sharing how you got to where you are that day.
Avoiding Social Media…Mostly
I’m not all that active on social media. And there are times when I think I should be in order to grow my brand. But in reality, I just don’t have much to say. I don’t contribute to a conversation for the sake of content.
Well, unless I am making a joke or having fun with the OP.
In any case, I don’t spend time browsing through sites like Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram. The bottom line is that I just have too much to do to worry about who is posting what or the newest controversy that is trending.
Most of what I post on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn is automated directly from the website.
Too many people care too much about what is happening on social sites. And if you’re not paying attention, they can tap all of your time in the day. It’s OK to be active, just make sure you’re not doing so when you should be working on your next project.
Using Certain Tools to Streamline the Process
The biggest contributing factor to my success lately is my ever-growing need to streamline the process. That’s why I spent two months hammering out a new schedule that works for me.
To help with editing, I use the Grammarly Chrome extension, especially since it works beautifully in WordPress. Then, I use the Jetpack Publicize feature to share new posts on social media when they go live.
I also spent a great deal of time working on the content strategy for my clients, which works exceptionally well for me.
There are all kinds of apps and programs nowadays that can help you streamline just about anything. The hardest part about most of them is simply figuring out which one works best for your needs.
To top it all off, you can get this automation without spending a dime since most have free versions available.
Don’t Worry About What Others Are Doing
As I’ve said multitudes of times, you’re only in competition with yourself. It doesn’t matter how many words I can write in a day. All that matters is how you’re progressing in your own career while taking care of your own needs and wants.
Sure, you can take advice from successful people out there in the world. But remember that every experience is unique. What works awesomely for one person may fall flat for another.
Now, I’m not saying that you should completely ignore everyone who is a success in your preferred niche or genre. In fact, you can incorporate a lot of what these people do to help you along in your own career.
At the end of the day, though, your success lands squarely on your shoulders. It all comes down to the kind of effort you put in to become that better version of yourself that you want to see in the mirror.
How Are You Ending January?
Although I didn’t break my words-per-month record, I’d still call January a win simply because I surpassed the monthly averages of 2022. This just means that I need to put a bit more umph behind my effort, especially since February is a much shorter month.
In any case, things are still looking up and I’m still overly excited to see some of the things I accomplish this year.
What kind of things did you do in January to help you get to where you want to be?
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