Freelance writing, by itself, can be pretty easy. Perhaps the hardest part is staying motivated.
- You haven’t heard responses from the pitches you sent last week.
- You are stuck on starting your next article.
- You feel as though you’re being paid less than you’re worth.
- Other things keep coming up: plans with friends and family, kids are sick, you’re tired and you just don’t want to spend time on the computer tonight.
I get it, I’ve been there plenty of times. And honestly, those types of feelings and situations may never go away. Because they’re normal! And you’re human! It’s hard to stay motivated to do much of anything.
Changing Your Habits Takes Time
Have you ever tried to change your eating habits? Start an exercise plan? After a period of time your body starts to resist that change and you start to fall back into old habits. What habits have you tried to change in order to make room for freelance writing?
I remember when I trained for my first marathon (almost 10 years ago!) and felt as though my life was consumed with training. I was running 4 days a week which doesn’t sound like much, but each day after work it was HARD to find the motivation to get out and run. I was comfortable at home and didn’t want to head outside (or head to the gym depending on weather) and could easily talk myself into skipping a training run.
I wasn’t motivated! At the time, I wanted to finish a marathon “just because”. And I barely finished the race!
A few years later, I trained again. But this time, I was motivated. I wanted to make my family proud, I wanted to make myself proud. But you know what else? Because I had been consistently running for the previous 2-3 years my training seemed so.much.easier!!!
So take that same idea and apply it to freelance writing. Do a little bit at a time and know WHY you are pursuing this type of work. If you don’t make time and you have no “why” this is going to be a long, difficult road.
Find Time to Work and Time to Live
Here’s the thing: freelance writing doesn’t need to take up all of your free time. I get it, you may think that more time you spend on writing, the better. And that’s partially true! You need to spend time looking for clients, working on projects, promoting yourself and updating your blog. Those things need to be done. But that doesn’t mean every single waking hour of your day is devoted to it.
For example, as a Stay at Home Mom, I work on my writing, blog and clients early in the morning before my kids wake up. I’ve tried working on things after they go to bed, but that is time with my husband or by myself. That is my time to relax. BUT I can do that because I get up at 5am every morning to work. I do spend time at night making my to-do list but that takes 5-10 minutes max. If I was working on freelance stuff in the early AM, at naptime (sometimes I use this time but kids are unpredictable and I can’t always count on this time being available) and after they went to bed I’d be exhausted!
Find time in your day to fit in freelance work. Maybe at first it’s only 1 hour per day. Then as you find more work and actually ENJOY the work more, you’ll find more time. That’s the thing, if this becomes important to you and you stay motivated, you’ll FIND time to work on your writing.
What is your “Why”?
So what motivates you? WHY are you pursuing freelance writing? Saving for your family’s future? Taking a big vacation? To leave your traditional job? Having the money to pay a big down payment on a new house? Maybe you’re like me, a Stay at Home Mom who wanted more! Take what motivates you and put it in front of you: add a note by your phone/alarm clock reminding you of your goals. Add a photo of your family near your computer/work area. Create a countdown calendar until your next big vacation. Whatever it is, put it in front of you so you are reminded to keep going.
The time invested in yourself is worth it. Set realistic expectations (aka no working 24/7), find time to work and time to relax. Spend time today figuring out your real “why” and keep that motivating factor where you can see it!