April 2020 is an interesting time be a freelance writer. Who am I kidding? It’s an interesting time to be alive, to say the least.
With your roommates – related or not – all sequestered in one space that seems to be getting smaller by the minute, the flexibility of our writing habits is being tested like never before.
But now is the perfect time to recommit ourselves to productivity. That way, when work ramps up again, we will be more prepared than ever.
As a writer, my ability to get in the zone and churn out content is my saving grace.
I wake up early and when the house is quiet and the sun is coming up, I can write like the wind. The time just passes and the words just flow – sometimes I don’t even notice that the dark sky has become light.
This is my zone. Here, I’m the most productive. Here, writing is not a job but a passion. However, finding my zone took a bit of research and experimentation.
To find your zone, consider these strategies:
Find Your Sacred Spot
Ever heard this advice about getting a good night’s sleep? Only use your bed for sleeping. Watch tv somewhere else. Keep electronics out of your bed. Do these simple things and your brain will make the connection that when you’re in bed, it’s time to sleep.
It’s the same with writing. Special treatment almost always appears in any definition of the word sacred. Find a place where your writing receives special treatment. You don’t pay bills or on-line shop there. You don’t read the news or check your social there.
For those with office space in the home, this may not be the no-brainer you think it is. Reassess what activities take place in the office. If your office is a place where you attend to multiple tasks, you may need to try again.
Keep looking and experimenting until you find that place where you sit, write and all of a sudden that dark sky is light for you too.
Identify Your Windows of Optimal Productivity
It’s no secret that different people have different windows of optimal productivity. You probably already know whether you are a morning person or a night owl.
Because those terms are pretty general, it’s important to dig a little deeper. Does morning mean pre-dawn or 10am after a run? Does night owl for you mean after dinner or midnight?
You can identify your optimal windows for productivity by determining where your word count output is highest. Try the times that make the most sense for you and see what the numbers say.
Once you find that “sweet spot” do everything in your power to remove barriers to writing and get to work!
Proactively Eliminate Distractions
Set yourself up for success. Know yourself and your habits. Have your coffee, your water, your notebook, your hand cream or whatever makes you comfortable.
If you need to keep your alerts on while you write, at least put your phone out of reach.
Set a timer to remind you to take a break, stretch your legs and check phone messages. Knowing a break is coming up will decrease the temptation to make excuses that interrupt your writing flow.
Do you have a separate desktop for your freelance career? Depending on your level of distractibility, this is something to consider. Personal email, social and other web activity distractions are largely removed, which allows you to stay in your zone longer.
Even if we’re not technically dealing with “writer’s block”, we’ve all been in that place of staring at the blank page.
Establishing a consistent process that includes a rough first draft and a final edit will help give yourself permission to just begin and let go of the pressure to get it right the first time.
So, find your sacred spot, identify your optimal productivity window, eliminate distractions and get to work and you’ll be more productive than ever.