Overcoming Distractions When Writing

Every writer faces distraction from time to time. Email, Twitter, Facebook, phone calls, texts, television, family, friends, etc. Here are some tips to help you minimize distractions and stay focused on your writing.

What is distracting you?

The first step is simple. Figure out what your weak points are. What is distracting you and why?

Once you determine what is luring your attention from your special craft, you can begin to brainstorm a way to counteract it. Can you resolve distractions before writing time? For example, if social media is drawing you away from getting words on the page, set a timer and visit those sites first. Limit the time you spend updating statuses and check new posts of only a few select people. It will satiateĀ  your curiosity temporarily while you work. If you can take care of whatever tends to steal your focus before your writing time, you will be less likely to stop writing because of those curious thoughts. This method works well if household chores or errands bother you the most.

Try using the distraction as a motivator. You can also use your distraction as a reward. Using the social media example, tell yourself that you can find out what is happening as soon as you write 500 words. Set some sort of goal that must be reached before you allow yourself to indulge.

Limit your writing time. If you are a writer, then at some point you must have decided that you love writing. Tease yourself and limit the amount of time you can spend writing per session. Once you get into a consistent habit of writing, you will enjoy it so much that you don’t want to stop when it is time. Take a few extra minutes if you have to finish a thought, but leave it alone. This will motivate you to come back again and dive right into your work next time.

Personally, my main distractions are household chores and family. What distracts you from your writing?

Exceeding client expectations

It is a perfectly good idea to impress your clients with your writing and the way that you handle your writing business. Going above and beyond the call of duty will put you in a good position as a writer that comes highly recommended. There are certain basics that all clients expect when they first hire you. If you can give them more you increase your chances of getting a testimonial, repeat business, and referral business.

At the very least, your clients expect original work that is free of grammatical errors and typos. Clients also expect that you deliver on time and follow directions. If you edit and proofread your work more than once, and put effort into the quality of your writing each time, you will certainly make a positive impression on your clients. Meeting the deadline is a no-brainer, but if you can get the work done ahead of deadline, do it. Don’t try to rush the project and sacrifice quality, but deliver really clean copy early whenever possible. Clients appreciate timeliness.When it comes to directions, inquiring on specifics and thinking critically about the work will show them that you are attentive and that you desire to get things just right. Ask questions, even if you think you know the answer.

If you set your standards high, this will also justify calling for a higher price. If you are charging what you are worth, putting in the extra effort to provide excellent service won’t be a problem. You will be able to take your time and feel good about what you do if you are being paid well. There are some clients out there who aren’t willing to pay for quality, but there are many others out there who are willing to pay what you are worth.

Aim to provide high quality writing services, and eventually, you will earn a high paycheck.

Goal setting for Freelance Writing

It is the seventh day of the New Year. If you have made resolutions, you may have already broken some of them, if not all. If you are still on track, good for you. If you missed the mark, don’t worry about it. As a freelance writer, especially if you are new at it, you will not get all of the writing that you aspire to get done in one day. As with any other habit, it is best to start small. The idea is to do better than last year. I can’t stress enough that your goals should be realistic, and you should give yourself time to grow into those habits that you are looking to form.goal

There are different was to set writing goals. You can set a certain number of words to write, a certain amount of hours to put in, or set completion dates for your novel or article. I believe in taking baby steps. I wouldn’t try to jump from writing one hour a day to writing eight hours a day, for example. Allow yourself some grace and do a little better each day, or each week, than you did before. You will never be perfect, and there will be sick and/or tired days. Things will come up and you won’t expect them. Once you build up your routine, it will get easier to reach your goals and roll with the punches.

My advice is to understand that it will take time to reach your goals. Take one day at a time and do your best for that day. Worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes. Keep your ultimate goal in mind, and make sure that you are moving towards it little by little. Don’t drown yourself in guilt if you fall short once in a while. Simply make regular progress, and you will do fine. Each day is a fresh new start, and we still have 358 of them this year. Think of all the progress you’ll make! Keep writing, whatever you do, and don’t give up. We are going to have a productive year.

Get Your Writing Done!

Missing deadlines is a bad idea. Granted, like most things, this is easier said than done. Early on in your writing career, it can be difficult to determine how long writing an article for a magazine or content for a web page will take you. When you are able to set the deadline with the client, make sure that you give yourself more time than you think you will need to complete the project. Life happens, and things don’t always work out as we plan, so allow for that when making your schedule. If your client has a deadline in mind, don’t say that you can meet it if you aren’t certain that you can.

Sometimes clients don’t realize that they are setting an unrealistic deadline. I have seen ads requiring 80 articles in three days. Considering the fact that I enjoy sleeping, eating, showering (you know, normal things) I don’t have time to write nearly 30 articles a day plus my usual blogging, lesson plan writing, editing, and communicating with my client base of seven. If you think the client is unreasonable about the deadline, try to negotiate an extension, or just don’t take the job.

If you find yourself in a bind and you really thought you would be able to meet a deadline, notify the client as soon as you think tardiness is possible. Do not, I repeat, do not wait until after you have missed the deadline to offer excuses. Most clients are understanding of sickness and emergencies, but don’t fake such things, it’s just unprofessional. Clients appreciate updates on progress, and you should always set an update schedule. If you haven’t done the amount of work you thought you would by the update, you may need an extension, or a cup of coffee.

Lateness could cause your clients major inconvenience. If you do cause an inconvenience, apologize and offer some sort of compensation. You can offer a small discount. The most important thing is that you finish the work you said that you would finish (sometimes that’s enough). If you deliver high quality, most clients won’t mind that you are a little late. On the other hand, there are many clients who are on tight schedules and really need things done when they say they need them done. You may not be able to tell the difference from the start, so the safest thing to do is be one time.

Make it a personal rule never to miss a deadline.

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