A day or so ago someone asked us to post our “… ONE writing tip for freelance writers.”
So far we’ve all said, one way or another, the same thing:
Write and read.
Okay, maybe that’s two tips, but in my mind they go together. More about that in a moment.
At least one coach said “write every day.” That’s not how I put it. My writing career is now almost 40 years(!) long and it covers times in my life when I was raising kids, sailing on small boats in the south Pacific, before computers made editing both easier and more difficult, on the web, off the web, for myself and for a wide variety of clients.
All successful writers write regularly
I’ve never written every day. I do write regularly. Which was a skill I had to learn. In my case I left the house to write in a coffee shop over weeks until I could trust myself not to go back to bed.
Writing regularly looks different to every writer I suspect. Some will write every day, either out of desire or a fear that if they skip a day they’ll skip the next, etc. But some write only five days a week – a typical business-like schedule. Others write only on weekends, but they get the writing done.
I write in the morning… early morning, like 6 or so. I can get in three or four hours of real writing and have the rest of the day for the rest of my business. But many people write better in the evening or late night. It does’t matter. All successful writers write regularly.
Let me repeat that: All successful writers write regularly. Whatever their schedule, they make writing a priority and find the time to get it done on a regular basis. If you don’t write regularly, whatever that looks like to you, your chances of continuing success as a freelancer are nil.
Successful writers also read
Every writer I’ve known and every writer I’ve heard about reads. We read books, printed and now ebooks. We read magazines online and off. We read blogs by friends and enemies. We read to learn about the stuff of the world, and we read with guilty pleasure whatever genre we happen to just enjoy – like mysteries which are my mind-candy.
I’m not sure exactly what the connection between reading and writing actually is. After all, there are a ton of people who love reading and don’t even want to write. But writers somehow want and even need to be immersed in words when they’re not writing. Oh, not all the time. Obviously taking a walk, going to a party, having fun with family and friends, art museums, travel, etc. etc. etc. are also important. Writers do need to get away from words, both the ones they’re generating and the ones they’re reading. Reading is, however, part of a successful freelance writer’s life.
Every now and again someone will tell me they want to “be a writer” but they don’t like to read. I ask them what else they’re interested in and suggest they pursue that.
So there you have it, my best time for successful freelance writing is to write and read.
Your turn: What’s your best tip for other writers? Do you agree writers somehow need to also read? Tell us about it in comments.
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