Roving Report: How to Carve Out Time for Your Writing Business

Time in a Piggy Bank

As a freelancer, time management can be “one of the biggest sticking points you’ll encounter,” announced Heather Robson.

Heather is the Managing Editor of Wealthy Web Writer, with nearly two decades of freelance writing experience herself. She’s had her own struggles with time management and learned how to improve, so she shared her strategies with members.

Heather pointed out that the two times when time management becomes the biggest problem are when you’re first launching your business, and once you’ve filled up your client pipeline for the first time.

She explained that, often when you’re getting your writing business off the ground, you’re also holding down a day job. You’re trying to figure out your dual roles — how to progress in a writing career while still being a good employee.

And then later, you’ll find yourself flush with projects only to face a scary empty calendar when they are all complete… because you’ve been busy writing and not marketing.

She addressed both in this webinar, which you can review HERE.

The Magic Formula

Heather believes that steady progress, over time, is the magic formula for success.

New freelancers are often in a big rush to succeed, but “your long-term sustainability depends on understanding that steady progress over time will move you forward consistently without burning out. Start making that mindset shift now,” Heather advised.

A mere three hours a week can be enough to grow and sustain your business. You can turn that three hours into something big, and then, once you’ve been able to leave your day job, three hours a week to focus on your business will keep you moving ahead.

Heather didn’t mince words. “It takes focus and it takes effort,” she announced. “It’s hard work.” She suggested embracing the hard work and noted that people generally feel more satisfaction from working hard and succeeding than in finding an easy solution.

Of course, in addition to working hard, you also need to work smart. Here are Heather’s top 10 strategies for smart time management to achieve a successful writing business (plus a bonus).

#1: Schedule the Time

“Sometimes the obvious solution is the obvious solution,” Heather explained. “You need to schedule the time.”

Heather puts what she calls her “hard landscape” on her calendar. That includes existing work commitments, as well as family obligations, time with friends, and other commitments.

Then she figures out a “practical, doable number of hours I can put in each week” on her business.

She looks for blocks of time that aren’t committed, and starts filling them in. That becomes part of her hard landscape. “If you had a client meeting set up, would you miss it for anything?” she asked. “I can’t imagine you wouldn’t show up for that, so show up for yourself, too.”

“As a writer, you are your most important client,” Heather added. “Look at these times on your calendar as a meeting with a make-or-break client. Show up for the meetings with yourself.”

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Susanna Perkins

Susanna was dragged back, kicking and screaming, into freelancing after losing her job in the banking meltdown in March, '09. One 3-month stint in an appalling temp job persuaded her to get serious about establishing herself as web writer. In March, 2012, she moved to a small town in Panama with her husband and three small dogs. After enjoying the writer's life in the culture of "buenas" and "mañana" for 2-1/2 years, she's returned to the US. At least for now.

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