How to build a strong writing routine for freelance writers

As a freelance writer, how often do you feel lost, not knowing where to start?

Learning how to build a strong writing routine will help you achieve your freelance writing goals.
Learning how to build a strong writing routine will help you achieve your freelance writing goals. – Photo Credit: Freepik

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!

Plan ahead to keep track of all your writing asignments
Plan ahead to keep track of all your writing asignments. – Photo Credit: Freepik.

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.

Keyword research is your best ally to find what your audience needs
Keyword research is your best ally to find what your audience needs. – Photo Credit: Freepik

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!

6. Proofreading

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.

Writing is for your brain as exercise is for your body
Writing is for your brain as exercise is for your body. – Photo Credit: Freepik

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.

Adjusting your routine will help you find the perfect work life balance
Adjusting your routine will help you find the perfect work life balance. – Photo Credit: Freepik
  • 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!

The Pros and Cons of Freelance Writing

The pros and cons of freelance writing

Freelance writing is a dream job many aspire to.

The pros and cons of freelance writing
Freelance writing has many advantages, but there are also a few downsides. – Photo credit: Freepik

You set your own schedule, work from anywhere you want and decide how much work to take on. With so many benefits, it’s no wonder freelance writing is on the rise.

Yet, sometimes I get the feeling there’s this romanticized perception of what freelance writing really is. Yes, sure, there are plenty of advantages… but what about the “not so good” parts that no one tells you about?

If you’re considering starting a freelance writing career, there are some things you must know. In this article, I’ll list the pros and cons of freelance writing. Also, I’ll let you know how to overcome the challenges you’ll face. Hopefully, I’ll help you decide if this is the right job for you.

The Pros

Let’s start with the good part!

The benefits of freelancing I’m about to tell you are some of the reasons why many writers decide to transform this side hustle into a full-time job. I’m sure you’ll find some of them quite alluring too.

· Work-life balance

Worklife balance is the goal of many aspiring freelance writers. – Photo Credit: Freepik

The pandemic forced many people to work from home and find extra income by freelancing. This new reality seemed impossible in the beginning. However, it became quite popular among several businesses.

Full-time freelance writing allows you to work from home (or anywhere you want). Besides ditching the long commutes, you can also save some money on transportation. You will have more time to enjoy yourself and the ones you love.

· Decide your own schedule

This is one of the biggest benefits in freelancing. Since you’re the boss, you decide if you want to stick with the 9-to-5 office hours or enjoy flexible working hours. It’ll only depend on how many hours you want to work daily.

Do you want to complete as many tasks as possible? Perfect!

Do you want to work three to four hours a day? Not a problem!

Just remember to keep your word to your customers and guarantee you meet all deadlines.

· Unlimited earnings

Traditional employment offers the security of a fixed salary. Regardless of how much you work, you’ll always receive compensation.

However, in many companies, no matter how much effort you put in, at the end of the month, your salary will be the same. Off course, there’s always a chance for a promotion or getting paid for those extra hours. Yet, you’ll always depend on someone else to notice your performance.

With a freelance writing career, your earnings are potentially illimited. The more you work, the more you earn. This is one of the first benefits any independent freelancer will give you. Although it’s all true, it won’t happen overnight.

While you’re building a reputation and your online presence, you set your rates and choose the project you want to work on. Yet your success will always depend on how much your freelance clients are willing to pay.

· Choosing your clients

In most employment contracts, you’re told what to do and how to do it. Even if you have a different opinion or are more skilled at working on a different task.

In freelance writing jobs, no two days are the same. This means you will work with different clients and on different projects at a time. This will force you out of your comfort zone and face a new challenge every time you accept a new project.

As a result, there will come a day when you’ll be able to choose the projects you want to work on. You may choose the ones paying the highest sums or the most challenging ones. In the end, the decision is yours!

· Always learning something new

This is what I enjoy the most in the freelance writing business. Although I specialized in hospitality and organizational psychology, as a freelance writer, I’ve had the opportunity to explore other areas.

Throughout your freelance career, you’ll have to adjust and research if you want to provide what your clients need. This intellectual challenge means you’ll have to be curious and open-minded. And, of course, enjoy learning new stuff every day.

The Cons

So far, so good, right?

After what you just read, I’m sure you’re excited about freelance lifestyle. Now, let’s pause for a moment… I’m about to show you the disadvantages of freelancing.

· Irregular work

When you follow this career path, it means your workload will vary over time. Some days you’ll be overwhelmed, while others, you’ll be desperate to find your next gig. Even though this is normal in freelancing, it is definitely a challenge in freelance work.

This is especially true if for novice freelancers. No one knows your work and who you are, and you lack a consistent client database. So, you have to put in extra effort to find your next client. The good news is it will get better. Until then, your primary job will be marketing your services.

Solution: Apply to gigs on job boards, explore freelance platforms andcontent mills, or contact potential clients directly. Also, build a portfolio or start a blog. Blog writing it’s a great way to show off your skills and expertise.

· Inconsistent income

This is a major drawback when it comes to freelancing. Although you may earn more than in a 9-to-5 working day, it is also true the amount you earn won’t be the same each month. Short-term projects, irregular work and late payments will highly impact your income. Also, there are no sick days off, parental leave or health insurance. You’ll be responsible for all expenses.

Freelance writing's irregular income pushes away many writers willing to write full-time.
Freelance writing’s irregular income pushes away many writers willing to write full-time. Photo Credit: Freepik.

Solution: Build an emergency fund. Having some money aside is the best way to deal with the irregular income that freelancing provides, especially when you’re beginning. Experts on personal finances advise you to save up to 6 months’ worth of expenses. So, if you don’t have any spare money, analyse your spending habits and check how much money to need before exploring the freelance world.

· Full responsibility

When you’re a freelancer, you’re so much more than that. You’re a business owner, accountant, marketer, customer support… The list goes on!

Starting a freelance writing business means you have to learn how to run a business. This includes managing time effectively, doing your taxes, keeping close contact with your current clients, and marketing yourself to find your next project. And, of course, you’re also responsible for every expense you have, from software licenses to IT hardware and electricity and other utilities.

Solution: Before starting your freelance writing business, confirm with the tax authorities what you need to become a professional freelancer and what taxes you will need to pay.

If you don’t know how you can market your services, consider attending a digital marketing course. This will help you find your first clients and how to keep them.

To manage time effectively, consider writing in the quietest area in the house and unplugging all social media and unnecessary devices. It will help you focus on your craft.

· No employee benefits

Besides a fixed salary at the end of the month, traditional jobs usually include other perks, such as sick days off, parental leave, paid vacation, health insurance and so on. Working as a freelancer means you’ll have to secure these benefits yourself. As a result, you should always consider these expenses when setting rates.

Solution: Find out the best options to enjoy employee benefits. Talk to your bank manager about retirement plans or with your insurance company regarding affordable health insurance. There are plenty of options. All you need is to find out which suits your needs.

· Isolation

Some may argue this comes as a benefit. Others may see it as a drawback. In my opinion, we’re social beings. Although we may wish to work far from anyone, there will come a day when you’ll miss having someone to vent your frustrations or celebrate your achievements.

Freelance writing can feel lonely from time to time. Most days, the only human contact you’ll have are your clients. Do you think you’re a good fit for freelance writing?

Solution: Work outside the house. Working at a coffee shop or a shared co-working space will help you avoid feeling lonely.

Is freelance writing the right career for you?

The incredible tales of digital nomads who make a living writing often lack honesty.

Although they might tell you how great it is to work anywhere in the world and as much as you want, they often forget to tell you how hard you must work to build a career in freelance writing.

Hopefully, this article will help you decide if freelance writing is something you want to pursue full-time.

Freelance Writer: What is it exactly?

Freelance writer

Do you know what a freelance writer is? Professional writers have been around for quite some time. However, only recently, the freelance writing business happened to be more in demand. The dramatic workplace changes in the last few years led many professionals to explore other work opportunities.

One of them is freelance writing. Experienced writers have plenty of opportunities to show their skills, either as a full-time job or as a side hustle. You can see their work in newspapers, websites, or blogs. Further on, I will help you understand what a freelance writer is.

Defining Freelance Writer

Before we move on, let’s start with a simple definition. A freelance writer provides a wide range of writing services.

Simple enough, right?

Well, there is more to that!

A freelance writer is a self-employed contractor working with freelance clients, either on long-term or one-time projects. Since it is considered an independent business owner, these writers are not part of the company salary sheet. As a result, they get paid for each writing project.

Now you are probably wondering how it all works! Fear not! I’m here to clarify for you!

What is a freelance writer?

Freelance writing is a broader definition that includes several types of writing. Yet, once you start exploring the different layers of content writing, you will uncover different styles of writers. Next, I will show the most common freelance writing styles.

Content writer

A content writer focuses on writing blog articles, press releases or email newsletters. However, the skills needed to produce engaging content may vary.

Freelance content writers working on complex projects of a content marketing strategy must consider SEO. What is SEO? It is an acronym for “search engine optimization”. As a SEO writer, your goal is improve a brand’s online presence through blog articles, or any other type of content, that boosts a website’s ranking on the search engine results page. An excellent content writer will drive audiences to their content and deliver engaging article writing.

Besides creating new content, you must be an exceptional researcher, editor, and proofreader.


Copywriting is one of the most lucrative careers in the freelance writing industry. A freelance copywriter creates sales copy and uses digital marketing strategies.

As a copywriter, your goal is to convert customers. You work on engaging individual customers or a B2C audience. How? You can do so by writing email newsletters, posts for businesses, or social media platforms.

In copywriting, potential clients might ask you to create social media posts. Your writing skills allow you to create copy and content for posts and advertisements, such as Facebook or Instagram ads.

It is why you may notice an overlap between content and copywriters. Depending on the project, a copywriter creates content about a product or writes a blog post intended to engage customers. As such, writing content is often related to copywriting.

Technical writer

A technical writer creates simple and relatable texts about complex topics. Building a freelance career as a technical writer means you must have a high experience level in your field.

In technical writing, freelance gigs require you to write user manuals, procedures, press releases, or white papers about a service, a product, or a company. Depending on your expertise, your writing portfolio might include complex subjects, such as medical, pharmaceutical, or computer science.

For the message to be fully comprehensible, you must consider the audience. If you write for a customer or another expert makes all the difference. Such as happens with other writers, to become a successful technical writer, you must find the perfect words to communicate with your audience.

Due to its uniqueness, technical writing offers many freelance writing job opportunities.


A ghostwriter creates content for websites, blogs, ebooks, and other publications credited to someone else. Ghostwriting is the most common style in the freelance writing business. The type of content will depend on the targeted audience. As a result, it can be anything from an online post or an imprint publication.

As a freelance ghostwriter, you can work on a variety of projects producing almost anything, from a literary masterpiece to a product description.

Working as a ghostwriter has a few perks. If you love writing and value your privacy, then ghostwriting might be perfect. On the other hand, if you want to publish under your name, it is best to look elsewhere.

What is it like to be a freelance writer?

Many people wonder about this basic question, and I’m sure you do too. Setting up a home office, defining your schedule, and working on your life-long passion might seduce you. However, the freelance writing business is not all roses.

Freelance daily routine
As a freelance writer, you can work anywhere! – Photo credit: MacroVector | Freepik

You are your own boss!

It is exciting, isn’t it? You decide your work schedule, no questions asked! As a freelance writer, you will notice that not every day is the same. Sometimes you are hit by an inspirational lightning bolt and other times nothing pours out, no matter how much you try.

Being your own boss means you can work as many hours as you need, or whenever you feel inspired.

However, there is a downside…
A freelance writer has many names. For instance, you might find expressions such as self-employed writer, solopreneur, or independent business owner. Regardless of what you might call yourself, it means you are responsible for your taxes our business expenses.

Especially when you are just starting, sometimes freelancing means you must attend to a bunch of tasks. You will have to work as a marketeer, advertiser, computer engineer, public relations, and customer service. And, of course, finding the time to write. In the end, you likely find yourself working longer hours as a freelance writer.

Every project is a new challenge

Freelance writing is a constant search for knowledge.
Each time you take on a new project, regardless of your writing experience, you walk into the unknown.

To deliver well-written content, you must do your research. Every day there is new information that might define your work. As a freelance writer, you must be relentless.

Furthermore, each project will force you to adjust. The goals and target audiences are different from one project to the other. Besides, each client has a vision of the final content. To become a successful freelance writer, you must meet your client’s expectations. Consequently, you must adjust your writing skills to your client’s needs.

Work anywhere you want

Can you imagine working on your laptop while overlooking a golden-sand beach and having a cocktail before lunchtime? It is a vision that seduces many beginners. And, to be honest, it is not that far from reality!

Most freelance writing careers allow you to work anywhere you want! You can set up your home office, write inside a local coffee shop, or use a coworking space. It is irrelevant where you are, as long as you have a plug and internet connection.

Although this sounds tempting, you must stay focused! This newfound freedom may take you off track if you lack discipline. When setting up your own office, remember to avoid anything that might distract you.

Sometimes, working anywhere means working everywhere! A healthy work-life balance is vital to any professional and must constantly be improved. If you work from home, try to find a space only for work where you will not be interrupted and avoid it when it is a relaxing time.

Getting paid for your work

Working as a freelance writer means getting on an hourly basis or by word count.

What does this mean? It is simple!

You set your rates and get paid for what you do, no more and no less. Contrary to working as an employee, working longer hours or writing faster might help close a project earlier than expected and receive payment sooner.

Also, you can earn much more than working a 9-to-5 job. Since you receive payment directly from your clients, you will receive more money than as an employee. However, as mentioned previously, you are an independent business owner. Although you might earn higher wages, you must consider taxes, insurance, and other formalities.

Finally, a freelance writer’s career doesn’t provide a steady income or workflow. While sometimes you struggle to meet all deadlines, other times there are no new projects.

Therefore, you must consider how this pressure would affect you. Would you feel comfortable not knowing what to expect?

Final thoughts

Hopefully, now you know what a freelance writer is and how they work. If you consider becoming a freelance writer, you will find many opportunities.