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Productivity is extremely important to a writer, especially if they are responsible for producing a certain amount of content per day. Like other professions, writers can also go through a funk. The creativity isn’t there, the desire isn’t there, and because of this, the productivity level has completely disappeared.
Freelance writers are typically required to produce a great amount of content in a given period of time. Clients want their work completed by a certain day so they can start using it for its desired purpose. If a freelance writer misses a deadline, it can cost their client money, and the writer can kiss their freelance opportunity with that company goodbye.
There are ways that freelance writers can maximize their productivity without sacrificing their quality. The following is a guide to being a productive freelancer.
1. Set Goals
Before you begin working, set a list of daily goals. This could be anything from the number of pieces you complete to the specific tasks you want to complete. Maybe you want to write six blog posts, or maybe you want to write one blog post, create a headline for three other blog posts and finish writing a press release. By writing the goals down, you can visibly see the goals you are trying to attain. This will help you stay focused.
If you try to work without setting goals, you will give up when you feel like it, even if you only accomplished one thing. Goal setting—and sticking to it—will boost your productivity levels.
2. Research First, Write Later
Some writers make the mistake of researching a topic, then writing about it, and then researching another topic, and then writing about that topic, and so on. It seems logical, but it will actually decrease productivity.
If you have multiple articles to write, you should research each of the topics first and place your notes in separate Word docs or other text formats. Then, after all the research is complete, start writing.
By completing all the research first, and then completing all the writing, you are alleviating your brain from having to bounce back and forth from one task to the other. When your brain is constantly bouncing, it will drain you quicker, forcing you to slow down. When your brain focuses on one task, such as research, it will work at an optimal level. This helps keep you focused and creates more energy.
3. Remain Calm
You need to make sure that your working environment is calm and relaxed. If your walls contain bold colors, or if there are multiple TVs in the room, they will distract you from your focus. Try to work in an environment that is more relaxed. A calmer surrounding will keep your mind at ease and allow you to have better focus.
4. Take Breaks
If you work for eight hours straight, you will be drained after the third hour. You will start to lose focus, and you will start to slow down. Taking breaks allows your mind to rest. When you go back to writing after that break, you will have a clear head that is ready to focus.
You need to determine what type of break helps your productivity. Are you the type of person who needs to work hard for two- to three-hour stretches and then take a long break? Or are you the type of person who needs to work for an hour and take multiple small breaks in between? Knowing what type of break helps clear your mind will help increase your productivity.
5. Eat Light
If you eat a large meal when writing, your fullness will slow you down and impair your productivity. By sticking to lighter and healthier foods, such as salads, fruits and yogurts, you will boost your energy levels without feeling full. This increase in energy will help maintain your focus and allow you to produce more work.
6. Save Proofreading for Last
Some writers tend to dwell over the perfection of their work as they’re writing. They will spend hours re-reading and re-working one paragraph until it’s perfect. Once that paragraph is great, they’ll move on to the next paragraph. Working this way will only slow you down.
You have to throw perfection to the wind and simply write. Let your fingers do the talking, don’t worry about grammar and spelling, and just write. Once you have that initial draft written, you can go back over your work, proofread it and make the necessary edits.
Every writer has the opportunity to increase his or her productivity. This guide will help writers correct the mistakes they may be currently making and allow them to better optimize their time.
This article was written by Mark Weatherford. Mark is a high school English teacher and published author. He is a staunch advocate for the use of grammar checkers to instantly proof works and ensure the writing is mistake-free. He is currently working on a Heart of Darkness summary.
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