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Carving Out Time For Your Writing In 4 Steps

freelance writingI suspect you became a freelance writer because you have something to say, something that you wanted to write about. I also suspect that unless you’ve become a best selling writer you’re earning your keep by using your writing talents to benefit others – clients of one sort or another. And if you’re successful, you’re spending your working time on client’s writing and on marketing and on billing and on the other things it takes to run a successful freelance writing business.

What’s often missing is time to do your own writing.

Finding Time For Your Writing

Here’s how I solve that problem:

  1. I track my time – not exactly the way Helen suggests, but I keep track of how I spend my working hours.
  2. Even though I rarely bill by the hour, when it’s appropriate I spell out in my contracts exactly how much time per week or per month they can expect me to be working on their project. This sets a time frame for both of us.
  3. I keep an appointment calendar where I aim at structuring my day.

  4. I make a daily appointment to do my own writing. For example, I’ve started a new book. I began with only 10 minutes a day as I listed out what I want to cover. Now that I’ve actually begun to do the writing, I’ve scheduled from 9 – 9:30 a.m. each weekday to do just that. When I’m done I check it off – a very satisfying feeling.

Take Your Writing Seriously

The reason this works I think is because by making an appointment to do my own writing I’m taking that writing as seriously as I take the writing I do for clients.

That means I have faith in myself and in my writing.

And although it seems circular, the way that belief in my own writing developed was by writing, rewriting and marketing. In the beginning, of course, I didn’t have that kind of confidence, but I did know that I somehow wanted to write, so I did. I wrote when my kids were little. I wrote early in the mornings, and on the sly at certain jobs. I rewrote and submitted and after awhile my stuff began to sell. (If you don’t have the free ebook that sums this up, sign up for the newsletter and you’ll get one.)

How do you make time for your own writing?

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Good post. My theory of time management, besides the four handy methods given, is to hunt often for things I’m doing that don’t really need to be done–nonessentials. I stop doing those and fill in with the things I’ve been neglecting. I’ve participated in an on-line workshop for the past two years. Recently, I stopped critiquing all but four of the members.
    .-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Watcher in the Night deciphered =-.

  • I have a hard time with this; I’m dating someone who lives very far from me and we talk online a LOT, which cuts drastically into my free time in the evenings!

    The best time for me to work on something short like queries or blog posts is lunchtime. I drag my laptop to work and either set up in the lunchroom or if I’m really going on something, the conference room. Mornings are hectic enough for me so generally that doesn’t happen unless I’m home sick. I try to stay off the Internet and get at least 1/2 to 1 hour done at night if I have a book going. Then I can talk to my sweetie.

    Getting research done during the day is hard too; I can’t call people or talk to them on the phone, and it’s been busy enough lately that I can’t go online and look up stuff.

    Ah, if only I could do this without the day job!
    .-= Elizabeth West´s last blog ..Leaving…for now =-.

    • Anne

      Keep plugging away and you’re likely to be able to leave your day job, if you want.

  • I only just started doing exactly what you do, Anne. I have been wanting to write an e-book for some time and I kept finding all this “real work” taking priority. Then it was, I’d do it on the weekend-but the weekend would come and I didn’t want to do it.

    That was my problem. I wasn’t viewing this as “real work” so your “taking your writing seriously” is spot-on. I now schedule it into my work week. I just started so now the challenge is sticking to it.
    .-= Cathy Miller´s last blog ..Is Unique Business Writing an Oxymoron? =-.

    • Anne

      Let us know how it works for you.

  • great post. thanks for sharing!
    .-= april´s last blog ..How Much It Cost… Revealed =-.

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