Self-discipline is a hard thing to come by for most people, but it’s an especially important trait to cultivate when you’re a freelancer. I think of it in terms of negotiating with myself.
If I’m in the middle of a really good book and also have a really important project coming due, it’s obvious that the disciplined course is to work on the project and save the reading for later. Work before play.
But, more times than I care to count, I’ve found myself picking up the book, and putting off the project until I can’t avoid it any longer. I think of that as losing a negotiation with myself. And, it happens because my self-discipline isn’t as strong as it should be.
But, it’s getting better. And, that is making a tremendous difference in how much I get done, in how satisfied I am with my work, and in how much I enjoy my playtime. It’s a win all around.
First, when I practice good self-discipline, I get more done and I get it done faster. I make the decision each morning that I will wait until after my workday is complete to read (books and news feeds — industry reading is permitted), to play games, or to clean the house (not saying I enjoy cleaning, but it is one thing I turn to when avoiding work).
Second, I notice that when I’m being more disciplined, I do better work. I think this happens because I stay more focused.
Third, when it comes time to play, I can do it guilt-free and without the stress of unfinished work hanging over my head, so I enjoy myself more and I’m more fun for my family to be around.
The first step in cultivating your own self-discipline is to be more self-aware throughout your workday. Any time you find yourself doing something without thinking (checking email, surfing news sites, folding laundry), stop and redirect yourself back to what you would be better off doing to reach your goals.
I have two more secrets that can help you improve your self-discipline, which I will share with you next week.
In the meantime …
Make Sure You Don’t Miss Out
Whether you’re looking to improve your web-writing skills or to renew your inspiration for freelancing, there is fresh content on the Wealthy Web Writer site that you’ll find helpful.
First, check out Mindy’s topical post on the updates to Facebook and why the changes may ultimately be a good thing for your web-writing career.
Then, make sure you read the most recent Roving Report on the fast-paced world of SEO. In this recap of an interview with SEO expert Heather Lloyd-Martin, you’ll discover one SEO insight after another, including why the Google Panda update opens the door to huge opportunities for web writers.
And, don’t miss Crystle Pishon’s article on the power of persistent action in building your web-writing career. She shares some noteworthy ideas for keeping your career moving forward. I came away from this article with a lot of motivation and I hope you will, too.
Don’t Miss These Upcoming Events
This week, join me for our Monthly Member Update. You’ll get a shot of motivation, a look at what’s coming up on the site, and an overview of what’s been happening during the last month, in case you missed anything. This event is on Friday, October 14th, at 3 p.m., Eastern Time.
Then, next week, make sure you make time for a webinar on blogging. You’ll get an update on whether or not blogging is still a useful marketing tool for web writers and you’ll discover 10 ways you can keep your blog content flowing effortlessly. Mark your calendar for Wednesday, October 19th, at 3 p.m., Eastern Time.
An Easier Way to Integrate Keywords and Phrases
In honor of the current Wealthy Web Writer Challenge, to set up and launch your own Money-Making Website, I’ve been taking a closer look at doing keyword research. This week, I want to give you a few ideas for making good use of your keywords.
Remember, your keywords and phrases do two important things — they tell search engines what each page is about and they help your visitors know they’re in the right place. You should always write to your human visitors, but keep these tips in mind as you write.
Begin with key points: Determine the key points you want to make in your article or post. Write a sentence to encapsulate each. If possible, include a keyword or phrase in each of these key point sentences.
Headlines and subheads: Your next step is to write your headline and subheads. Keep your reader in mind as you write these. Make sure each heading is engaging and easy to scan. Search engines look at the headlines and subheads as important, so when possible, include keywords here.
Write the rest of your content: Now write the rest of your content. Often you’ll find your key point sentences you wrote in the first step work well to start your different subsections or they may all tie in together to create an effective lead.
Write a description: When you post an article or blog online, you need to write a meta description for it. This is the description that Google shows to searchers. Make your description engaging and benefit-oriented to attract readers. Use keywords if you can, but focus on engaging visitors first and foremost.
Write a title: The title is different from your headline. Search engines display it as the anchor link that people click on to reach your content. Again, make it engaging and benefit-oriented. Use keywords, if possible, but don’t sacrifice user experience.
Use this formula to write valuable, relevant articles that are engaging for visitors to read and easy for search engines to identify. When you strike that balance, you’ll improve your rankings and attract more targeted traffic to your copy.