Being a writer is a beautiful calling. You get to be creative. You get to motivate and inspire people. You get to help businesses succeed and contribute to the betterment of the lives of countless individuals. Plus, if you play your cards right, you can work from anywhere and set your own schedule.
At times, however, being a writer can turn stressful. Campaign deadlines can bring a lot of pressure. Your to-do list fills up and you aren’t sure how to manage the avalanche of incoming projects.
To return to your state of writer’s bliss — or to never lose it in the first place — you need to stay in full control, and use all the tools and apps available to you. There are plenty of handy bits of technology to help you stay more organized at every level.
Let’s take a look at some of the best tools and tips to keep you on track and enjoying the writer’s life.
Manage your time better
Even if you’re a freelancer and you work from home, you need to differentiate between work time and free time. Organize yourself a special office space where you will work. Also inform family members and friends that they should not disturb you during your work hours. That way, you’ll be able to work on your projects without distraction. You’ll get more done in less time and do better work, too. That means way less stress.
Organize your work better
Too many writing projects? It may mean more money at the end of the month, but it can mean stressful days in the meantime. When you feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, it becomes more important than ever to pay attention to your overall organization. You want to do everything you can to maximize your work efficiency.
Fortunately, technology can help. You’ll find plenty of online tools and mobile apps to help you stay organized. Here are just a few of my favorites…
- Evernote — One of the best applications invented. It’s perfect for taking notes and capturing research. It will sync quickly to your smartphone. And you can tag all of your ideas and clippings so they are easy to find later.
- WorkFlowy — This app will help you quickly structure your outline for any and every project. In turn, that can help you organize your research, your ideas, and your questions for a more seamless writing process.
- Custom Writing Service — Get more free time for yourself and turn in a polished finished project by hiring an expert proofreader. This service provides editing and proofreading at a decent price, so you can focus on what you’re really good at… writing.
- BlindWrite — A truly interesting and helpful app which allows you to write blind — you can’t see what you’re writing as you write. You are allowed to edit when you are done. This is a perfect tool for helping you turn off your inner censor. You can’t even imagine the creativity that is within you until you try BlindWrite.
- CoSchedule — This is a WordPress application that allows you to manage and organize your content across several channels: personal blogs, social media, website content for different clients, etc.
- Twitter Hashtags — When you need to come up with unique content frequently, look up hashtags to find the most popular trending topics.
- Look up writing groups/forums — These groups will help you meet like-minded people. You’ll make new friends and you can learn tips and tricks from them as well. (Forums are also a great place to do audience research for the project you’re working on.)
“Disconnect” for at least two hours every day
If you force yourself to write uninterrupted for long periods, you will end up exhausted. When you write too many hours in a row, your productivity levels will go lower and lower. So will your creativity. When that happens, your work efficiency goes way down.
It is extremely important to get ‘disconnected’ completely from your work and focus on other things you enjoy.
Go for a walk in nature, go jogging, cook, or watch a nice movie. Most importantly, do not use your smartphone, do not check emails, and do not respond to Facebook requests. Disconnect for at least two hours every single day. (It doesn’t have to be all at once.) You will refresh your mind and sit down to work with renewed creativity and focus.
Skim your thesaurus
When you work on so many projects, and others just keep coming in, you need to stay creative. In order to avoid using the same sentences and phrases all the time, skim your thesaurus for a few minutes every day. You can read it like any other book, and find those phrases that stick with you. Or you can flip from here to there, taking in different ideas for how to express things.
Do this and your vocabulary will become much richer and your content will be much better.
Get help with your work
When you have an overwhelming number of tasks and you feel you cannot manage them by yourself, you should get help from the professionals — your fellow freelance writers. For example, you can outsource some of your writing projects to other writers in your network. You will need to edit and proofread them carefully, but someone else will perform the main task of writing. This means less money for you on that project, but more time to finish all your important projects. Just make sure to find truly reliable and top quality writers if you are going to outsource.
Avoid overloading with these creative tips
Always respect your deadlines
Do not postpone deadlines, even if you are allowed to be late by one or two days. If you always meet your deadlines, projects will not pile up as much. Pay attention to how much time different kinds of projects take you and plan your deadlines accordingly. If you can’t make a deadline, don’t agree to it. Many writers have the tendency to say “Yes” to everything, resulting in a huge load of projects all due around the same time. And then they find themselves writing 20 hours a day just to get caught up. Talk about stress!
Avoid half-finished projects
Do you find yourself juggling between multiple projects? Many writers work concomitantly on up to five or six projects at a time. You need to ask if that system works for you? You might find you do better work by completing your projects one at a time.
Protect your own time — it’s precious
When you’re a freelance writer, your friends and family don’t always get it. Sometimes they’ll think you’re available to chat on Facebook, go out for coffee at a moment’s notice, or jump on the phone with them because they’re bored. Even if your friends might regard you as ruthless, it is your time and you need to manage and protect it. Otherwise, you’ll end up working when you should actually sleep, or working when you should enjoy a nice dinner with someone dear to you. Don’t let people around you take away your precious time.
Bid smartly on your projects
You can avoid overloading if you make smart bids on your projects. Learn to reject time-consuming, low-paying projects, and focus more on getting well-paid projects. When you get paid more for each project, you can afford to take on fewer of them, which means fewer deadlines to juggle and less stress for you.
Being a writer is a great profession. And you’ll achieve success faster if you take it seriously and learn to organize your time, your projects, and your tools. Then, you’ll work more efficiently, have more time for yourself, and start earning a higher and higher income.
Kenneth Waldman is a professional content writer with over five years of experience and also a Сopyreader and Designer at AskPetersen Reviews (read the latest SuperiorPapers Review). His expertise includes education, marketing, freelancing. You can follow him on Twitter.