As a freelance writer, how often do you feel lost, not knowing where to start?
When you’re in the freelance writing business, waiting for a strike of inspiration is something you simply can’t afford. You have to write! So, how can you overcome the lack of motivation and creativity?
As I’m writing this article, I’m struggling with all this.
How did I finish it? I followed a writing routine I’ve built over the years to help me stay on track.
In this article, I’ll show you how you can build your own writing routine.
Why building a writing routine is important?
When I started as a freelance writer, I didn’t have any experience. I had never been a professional writer and had only written for myself. I had the skills but didn’t know how to use them. In fact, I only wrote when I felt the need to.
When I started my own brand, I needed more than my passion for words! I needed to find a daily writing routine that allowed me to write spot-on content any day of the week!
So, why is having a strong writing routine so important, and why build your own?
- Improved productivity – Once you have a strong writing routine, you’ll become more productive and start producing high-quality articles faster, with little to no editing.
- Feeling more motivated – A daily writing routine helps you keep your motivation high, even when you don’t feel so inspired.
- Helps organize a work schedule – Planning your work week is the best strategy to know where you’re headed and build a realistic freelance writing routine.
- Keeping focused – While working from home, you’ll see more distractions than at the office. With a strong writing routine, it’ll be easier to avoid any interference.
- No more procrastination – When you don’t feel like writing, even the thought of looking at a blank page seems daunting. A daily writing routine will help you stop delaying what needs to be done.
How can you build a solid writing routine?
You can google all you want; you won’t find a straight answer! Each successful freelance writer has their own method. The key is finding what works best for you!
How did I do it?
I started by defining my writing process! You know… those things that are basics for writers and you do all the time, but you never really give them much thought.
Then, I found the perfect place to work and learned the best time of day to write.
And then, I figured I needed to rest to be at my best!
Once you identify your writing process and what makes more sense to you, everything else will seem clearer!
To help you find your answer, here’s what worked for me!
Establishing a writing process
1. Find content ideas
Some freelance clients will provide detailed content writing guidelines where your only job is to put their ideas for blog posts on paper. On the other hand, you’ll also find potential clients who know what they want but not how to do it. That’s why they’ll ask you for topic ideas relevant to their business.
Check their existing content or google their main product or service to find new topic ideas. You’ll find their client’s main concerns on social media so you can address them in your next blog post.
2. Do some keyword research
With the right keyword research tool and strong research skills, you’ll learn all you need about your audience’s search intent. This is especially useful when producing content focused on search engine optimization.
So, before typing away, make a list of keywords, identify the types of keywords you found, and highlight which will be your primary keywords. It’ll help you focus on what your audience needs!
3. Build an outline
Even when a potential client doesn’t request an outline, you should always build one. It’ll help you focus on your content strategy and not drift away from the main topic. This is also a crucial component when you have a strict word count. This way, you’ll know how long your subtopics can be.
4. Write your first draft
When I started my freelance career, I always struggled with starting a piece of content. Anything I wrote seemed rubbish, and I continued hitting the backspace button more times than I care to admit. I knew what I wanted to say, but I was too focused on finding the right words.
To avoid this, you should always start your writing project with a draft. It’ll look sloppy and your worst piece of writing, but it’s the start of your masterpiece. Writing without thinking will help you put your ideas on paper, not caring about style, tone, or format.
5. Edit the article
The editing process is a crucial phase of my freelance writing routine. This is when I decide what sounds good and what doesn’t. On a good day, there isn’t much to change. On my worst days, I delete complete sentences to find others that convey my message better.
Get your editing mode on to improve your piece of content, make any corrections you need, and find your own voice and writing style!
To build a strong writing routine, you must proofread! You can proofread yourself or ask someone to do it for you. Personally, I prefer to do it myself.
After editing, I always let the article “rest” for a few hours or even a full day (if I’m ahead of the deadline). By doing so, I’ll return to it with a well-rested brain, ready to spot basic grammatical errors that would damage my reputation.
I use Grammarly to avoid any misspelling errors. I don’t use every single suggestion Grammarly presents, but it helps find errors after reading the text several times.
7. Submit the final result
The moment I hand in a new article feel such a relief! However, before submitting the article, I always read it one last time (even after editing and proofreading) to guarantee it’s close to perfection!
When submitting, consider your client’s preferences. Some may ask you to submit the article on Google Docs, while others prefer to email them a PDF file. Regardless of your client’s preferences, always confirm the format they need.
Additional tips to build your daily writing routine
Once you understand your daily writing routine and what works best for you, you should consider other aspects of writing that will affect your writing flow.
- Have a dedicated space
A common freelance writing mistake is working anywhere and not having a dedicated space. I know not everyone can afford to convert a spare room into a home office. Nevertheless, there must be a place in the house where you feel more comfortable writing. It’ll help you boost your creativity, avoid distractions and keep focused.
- Learn your most productive time
Some freelance content writers are early birds, while others think best at night when everything is quiet and still. To figure your daily writing routine and find your optimal writing time, work at different times each day. By the end of the week, you’ll know when you’re most productive.
- Write every day
To become a successful freelance writer, you must write every day to build a strong writing routine. I know it sounds obvious, but it’s a common freelance writing mistake by many freelance content writers. Writing is for your brain as exercise is for your body.
It doesn’t matter what type of content you’re producing. Whether you’re preparing proposals to jobs, guest posts or social media posts, the important thing is for your “brain muscles” to improve you must write on a regular basis. It’ll help you improve your writing skills and language proficiency.
- Set daily goals
Set specific goals each day, if you’re starting a career in freelance writing and you’re having trouble writing enough content daily. Start with 500 words, then 1000 words, and so on. Setting challenging but achievable writing goals and actually achieving them will make you feel accomplished and motivated.
- Find time to write
If you’re not a full-time freelance writer and this is your side hustle, you know how challenging it can be to keep up with all your responsibilities. Managing a full-time job, and family and still finding time to write is never easy.
To build a successful freelance writing career, and a strong writing routine, you must schedule writing time as you do with other tasks. Try using a tool for writers such as Google Calendar or Asana. It’ll help you stay organized.
- Avoid distractions
When you’re working from home, distractions will come out of nowhere and stop you from achieving your goals. That’s why your best option is to tackle these distractions from the beginning.
Is your phone constantly ringing with social media notifications? Turn it off!
Do you work with too many tabs open and get lost? Leave only the essentials!
The coffee shop where you usually write is too busy and nosy? Go somewhere else!
The important thing is to avoid anything that might prevent you from finding your freelance writing routine.
- Get some rest
Our brains work around the clock, gathering all sorts of information throughout the day. At night, it’s time to reboot.
Have you ever dreamed about several events that happened to you during the day, but in a completely different order? Well, that’s your brain trying to process all you experienced.
That’s why a good night’s sleep is your best friend when it comes to writing. It’ll help you be more creative, productive, and a better problem-solver.
- Get your mind off work
Recent studies show that doing nothing improves our mental health. Besides, our brains establish creative connections during rest moments. Basically, if you want to be productive and creative, you must allow yourself to have regular breaks.
Doing something completely unrelated on a 10 to 15-minute break has worked for me over the years. Reading a book, watching a movie, listening to music, playing video games, hiking, having a coffee with friends, or just wandering around the block has helped me many times.
Figure out what works for you and enjoy those relaxing moments. You might not know it, but you’re working on yourself!
- Adjust your writing routine
Your days might seem the same every day, but there’ll be a time when a new appointment comes along to mess up your schedule. When it happens, be sure to adjust your writing routine so that you keep track of all your commitments.
- Develop a routine into a habit
Transforming a routine into a habit may take several months, especially when you’re a beginner. Compromise your writing time a few hours a day, and gradually add more time as you become more comfortable. Then, be consistent and treat writing assignment as an important commitment. Before you notice, you’re writing flow will improve.
How’s your writing routine?
Writing is a challenging craft. However, if you’re as passionate about it as me, I’m sure you’ll find it extremely rewarding.
Having a strong writing routine will help you become more productive, and creative and stay motivated even when you lack inspiration. That’s why, you must prioritize self-care by resting and enjoying other activities outside work.
Regardless of what your work method looks like, finding a strong writing routine that works best for you is key to a successful freelance writing career.
I hope this article will get you in the right direction to find your writing routine. Send me an email and let me know how it went!