In a previous post, I shared that I was awarded a freelance blogging scholarship by one of the industry greats, Sophie Lizard of Be a Freelance Blogger (BAFB). Today, at 4:00 a.m., local time, I got to speak with her via Google Hangouts.
Other participants were unable to attend for a number of reasons – most were sick, one was stuck in traffic, and another was moving furniture.
That was my first time to use Google Hangouts. So if you stumble upon the video somewhere on the Internet, please pardon my just-got-out-of-the-bed look. As I said, it was early morning, my time, and I had no idea how to turn off the webcam, initially at least.
And then, there was my accent. (English is my third language, so if I gave you a headache or something, please keep in mind that I wasn’t trying to be cute.)
With that out of the way, let’s focus on the good stuff that I took away from the session.
How well do you manage your time?
Most freelancers start out with side hustles. This means the time they have on their hands to work on their freelance writing careers is limited. In my case, I try my best to allocate as much as 20 hours a week for my writing business. If (and there’s the big if) you know how to manage your time, a lot can be done in 20 hours.
In the freelance writing world, marketing your services is a secret sauce to success. If you rely on a single client for work, suddenly losing that client for whatever reason can spell disaster for your business.
Allocate one hour every day for sending out pitches and scanning job boards, i.e., Problogger. This should leave you with enough time for other things outside of your day job and sleeping, all the while ensuring you don’t run out of clients to write for.
Breeze through it, or put a gun to the head
Despite RescueTime being installed in my computer to keep tabs on my online activities, hence, my productivity, I still fail with an F on time management – according to my personal score card, at least. (My inner critic can be very unforgiving.) The main culprit: I edit while I write.
Editing while writing is an effective deterrent to productivity. I know that for a fact, but I still fall victim to it. (So yes, knowing is different from doing.)
Because I try to wear both the writing and editing hats at the same time, it sometimes takes me 4 to 6 hours to complete a single blog post. If you do the math, most days when I write post-work, I don’t even get to complete one blog post.
Create an outline before writing, so you know all the points to cover. Force yourself to complete the first draft before you do any editing. Writing and editing are separate tasks and require different skills. Write first, edit later. No excuses!
Paid memberships to writing sites – are they worth it?
If you can afford them, membership sites are good because writing resources, expert interviews, videos, trainings and other services (proofreading of query letters, job boards that are exclusive to members, etc.) are pooled in one place.
No need to scour the web – and figuring out whether the techniques/pointers offered do work – because if you trust the membership site’s owner/moderator, then you know that what they offer has been proven to work.
One of the things I learned in all the years I’ve been trying to find my place online is to be wary of the company I keep. Success breeds success. If you want to be successful, as has been said again and again in this blog, be with successful people.
Learn from them, and if possible, get them to mentor you. No matter how far you’ve gone and how much you already know, there’s always someone who’s better and more experienced than you are.
Image credit: nokhoog_buchachon | FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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