Many new writers come in the field with the mindset of “writing when inspiration strikes” or “writing what you understand.” Such myths deceive writers into thinking writing is not a job. Well, to build a career as a writer, you need to learn how to write like it is your job. A good starting point is doing away with away such myths.
On the other hand, what about others more experienced in writing? What fallacies and myths of the literary lifestyle can prevent you from writing like it is a job? Writing is not just a Job, it is also a business, and should such have a strategy and business plan to ensure career and personal success. It is vital for writing professionals to know the distinction of how essential a “job” is and the writing market to successfully write to it. Learning how to write any job successfully requires some level of seriousness same as you would if you worked for a company. Since it is your career and your life the only one who can design and control your career path is you. Below are tips to help you get your act straight and not miss deadlines.
- Set a regular schedule
- Have a designated workspace
- Blocking productivity disruptions
- Focus on one writing task at a time
- Use the writing pyramid to keep your focus
- Build a subject area of expertise
- Build a reference library
- Build customized job aids and checklists
- Leverage Productivity Tools
Set A Regular Work Schedule
Writing is a good venture, and it requires the “more seriousness” treatment associated with 9-5 jobs and who just gets to work 8 hours a day, every day. Creating a regular schedule would help you avoid slogging through tasks as you progress with your writing life. If you have committed to a deadline, then you are accountable to any client as any businessman would. As writers, we need the mindset of a business person in keeping a consistent schedule and dedication accomplishing a sufficient volume and quality of work each day. Writing is a service-oriented venture whether writing a novel, short story or a freelance article, and you are 100% in control.
Have A Designated Workspace
Like all other entrepreneurial professionals, you too can benefit from that flexibility. Being creative while writing can be an enjoyable as well as daunting. A Key success factor for writers is having a Designated Workspace, not that you need to live it, but you need a place to be organized, focused, and from which to take a mental take, if need be. We all have our individual preference and as such need a workspace that meets out taste and keeps the mind active. Although we all have some sick days, having a Designated Workspace created to meet your writing needs will significantly facilitate your writing “job.” Your Designated Workspace should have fun in it, to recharge your batteries….All work and no play makes….
Blocking Productivity Disruptions
Blocking disruptions can be a challenge, there is nothing worse than having your work interrupted, when you’re inspired, to go pull something off the shelf or help someone with something just because your physically available. It’s important that everyone understand when your focus work hours exist, another reason to keep a consistent schedule, and that you are in fact working even though you may not be sitting in a company office. Sometimes with family members, this can be difficult and may take some creativity when planning your scheduling and to let people know when you should not be disrupted. It can be as simple as a sign on the door or it may take a little training. It may also mean that your home office location, a suit you’re working from home might need to be slightly geographically isolated. For example, if you have a property in a shed using shed detached from the house is a home office might be a good idea.
Blocking disruptions also mean taking care of your own behaviors. Things like watching television, loud music, or too many trips to the pantry can be just as disruptive as other people unexpectedly asking you for help.
The main point is when you’re working, you are working, so, you and others need to respect your office hours whether you’re physically in the office, setting up a local Starbucks, or sitting at the patio table.
Focus on One Writing Task At A Time
Multi-tasking is a productivity myth, especially, where creative thinking is required. Writing is both an art and business. Indeed, some writers prefer to be freelance writers, while others elect to suffer for their art. But it is best to proactively schedule and concentrate on one job at a time, altering your mindset and research to suit the work, and assuming to the appropriate writing style and tone. Also, if you have done the appropriate research in preparation when you sit down to do the actual writing, your work will flow better because you’re prepared both from a research and gathered references perspective, and from a mental state of mind. With a little practice and some honing of your skills, you may find that your writing speed increases, not to mention the quality of your writing will improve.
Use the Writing Pyramid to Keep Your Focus
This part is correct and ultimately makes sense; especially, if you want to become an excellent writer. Using the writing pyramid, provide structure and organization to help you write efficiently and effectively. Leveraging the writing pyramid will expedite the writing process and helps to keep you from meandering or becoming lost in your writing. Additionally, using the writing pyramid is that excellent job aid for fleshing out your outline quickly and efficiently. In time, the writing pyramid approach will become second nature and the practice of getting your main points down early in your writing and expanding upon them can be done with little or no focus thought.
Build A Subject Area of Expertise
Writing comes easily to any truly gifted writer. For some, it may take years to discover and build a subject area of expertise. While most writers at some point in their careers will need to write outside their area of expertise, building an area of expertise is essential. There are number reasons that having an area of expertise is important among them are:
- your articles will be more accurate and sound more confident as you know what you’re talking about
- your writing will be more efficient and require less research in areas where you already have knowledge
- with some care and planning, you will assemble a set of authoritative references and how to organize them for the way you write.
Build A Reference Library
Building a reference library whether physical books and references or electronic ones are essential for any writer. No one can know anything unless you can afford to run out of the library every time you need to do some research accumulating an authoritative set of references is a serious productivity enhancer.
While it’s important to keep your references up-to-date, and this will depend an awful lot on your area of expertise, having some older references can also be useful. Some of my most interesting references and my most useful are over 100 years old. I find it some of the older references provide some perspective and insight that many modern writings do not contain.
Keeping your references organized in a way that makes sense to you is also very important. If you want to be frustrated just, try to find something that you know you own but can’t find. Personally, I find the frustration of hunting for resources completely distracting and causes me to lose my focus. For this reason, I gather my references in advance and I put them in the project carts. Sometimes this is because of having done some research and gathered in my materials together as I did so, and other times it simply a matter of going to the section of my library about a subject.
However, a word of caution, do not gather so much that it just becomes clutter on the shelves or that you find when you move or travel the cost of having all those references causes you to have to dispose of the books in some manner. When traveling, having e-book versions of your references can be very helpful, but most times I prefer the real paper copy.
Additionally, I love the public library and I find it perfectly useful for doing research, gathering references, and borrowing them from the library for a short period. If you happen to be traveling and have some free time, often, it pays to visit the public library in the local city or town. You can find treasures and those of the libraries that might not be available in your local libraries. Also, public libraries are generally an excellent quiet place to work
Build Customized Job Aids and Checklists
Job aids help you to work faster, more consistently, and more accurately. Job aids can come in several forms and here are just a few:
- templates can be used in a lot of places depending on what your writing pattern is. It can be as simple as a template title page or that blog pattern you used consistently.
- checklists can be created to help with a few purposes. For example, quality items unique to you, such as commonly misused words, common spelling issues, or standard formatting checks, and other quality items.
How To Instructions
- how-to instructions can be helpful to make sure that you’ve accurately completed all the steps in a process, or to ensure that you’ve completed all the steps in the correct order. But keep them simple and bare-bones
Leverage Productivity Tools
productivity tools abound in our modern workplace suited a significant number of them are free or low cost, but you choose the few that work best for the way you write and do business. Some areas where productivity tools commonly come into play are:
- project management and scheduling tools,
- social media communication/publishing tools (e.g. Twitter or Pinterest),
- photo and infographics editing tools,
- email marketing tools,
- and, perhaps the most common, word editors, grammar checking, and publishing tools; including speech-to-text tools.
if you’re going to earn a living as a writer, you need to work on a regular schedule and produce a consistent amount of writing each day. To be successful as a writer, especially if you want to earn a living as a writer, you need to accumulate a body of work and hone your skills. So, treating your writing career, as a career at any other company, will do much to ensure your success.