We’ve all been there: days when you just don’t want to work. Maybe it’s a really nice day and the idea of staring at your computer for another two hours has zero appeal, or perhaps you’re overworked and your brain is tired.
Some days you just aren’t feeling it. Freelance writers everywhere know this pain, but the nature of our profession dictates that we suck it up and deal with it…but how?
Taking preventative steps to maintain motivation is going to get you farther than being reactive to listlessness. So start now with these 10 actionable tips for staying motivated as a freelance writer.
1. Have a Schedule
Keeping a set schedule will help you stay motivated because you won’t go insane trying to work all hours of the day.
Also, if you can habituate yourself to working during certain times of day, your brain will start to automatically know when it’s time to settle down and work, much like how you get sleepy at the same time every day.
2. Be On or Off
When you are working, be all the way committed to what you’re doing or take a break and completely stop. When you idly half-work all day, you wear yourself out and end up not getting a lot done.
Do yourself a favor and decide whether to fully put your mind to the task or let yourself have a break.
3. Create Your Own Community
Freelance writing can feel isolating at times; you generally work alone at home (or at Starbucks) all day. However, even though the work is solitary, it is beneficial to keep in contact with other professionals.
Build a network of people around you, so you can trade tips, chat, or vent about the life of a freelancer.
4. Write for yourself
There is at least some part of you left that genuinely appreciates writing as a craft, so take some time to write for yourself once in a while.
If you always write for others, it can be hard to develop or maintain your own voice and it can stop being enjoyable. Keep a personal blog or other writing project on a subject that interests you.
5. Take a break and get some exercise
This can seem counterproductive, but not working for a while will let you relax your mind and make it easier to come back to work with a fresh perspective.
Additionally, exercising is great for your brain and will make you feel more relaxed. Working exercise and other breaks into your schedule can have major benefits for your motivation levels.
6. Take on new types of work
It can get really old writing about the current real estate market in each of the 50 states (for example), so try to mix things up by finding other projects.
Even if it’s just a couple times per month, writing about a new topic can help you feel rejuvenated.
7. Focus on the Long Term
Sometimes you get a topic and you just hate it, but you have to push through it. How do you manage?
Think about the long-term benefits: learning more about a subject that could apply to other work, building a portfolio, or maintaining a strong relationship with a client.
8. Change Environments
Again, mixing things up will keep your brain awake. Go to the coffee shop across town, reserve a study room at the library, or find a table at a public park.
Going to a new place will help you feel like you’re not stuck in a rut.
9. Remind Yourself Why You’re Doing This
Presumably, you started doing freelance writing because you like to write (and probably also to pay the bills). Even when you’re working on a tough project, find something about it to enjoy: work in some new vocabulary words, research something interesting, or think about the paycheck.
10. Treat yourself
Once in a while, give yourself a reward. The stakes don’t have to be high; you might just get some ice cream for making it through the week or only work a half-day because you finished early. Know when to reward yourself so you don’t burn out!
Working as a freelance writer can be a tough job; finding work and keeping long-term clients are hurdles. These steps will both help you transition to a writer’s life and make the most of the joys of that life.