It’s September 1st, 2015 and all around the world (or at least in New Jersey) students are starting school. My brother is at his first day of middle school and my friends are currently in class meeting their teachers and going over syllabi. I, however, am in my room at my writing desk experiencing my first day of freelance writing! It’s a different kind of feeling. I have sat down to write before, but the process of writing has never felt so planned. My first thought when I woke up for my 9-5 shift today was (1) that it’s really early and (2) that I would rather spend my class-free day off watching Family Guy reruns. When I sat down and began putting my pre-written list of goals for the day into practice, everything made sense again! I was able to write and work diligently with no problem. That being said, here are three tips for getting through your first day of freelance writing.
Create a plan of action ahead of time
You have already taken care of the preparations needed to begin your freelance writing career, so now you can sit back, relax and enjoy the clients fighting over you right? WRONG! The opening of your business is an extremely important day and sets up the expectations and work ethic that you will continue throughout your career. That being said, create a plan of action ahead of time. Though you don’t have clients yet, the first day of your job should be one in which you (1) notify your network and let them know you’re available for opportunities (2) start drafting and sending out pitches and inquiry letters to organizations and publications consistent with your niche and (3) complete any other miscellaneous tasks such as writing down last-minute office supplies, responding to emails and drafting blog posts for the future. When I completed the first tasks, I received my first client within a week. Try it out, and see what works for you!
Schedule your breaks…and stick with them!
I work 9-5 Tuesdays and Thursdays. Though I try to stretch every 30-45 minutes for 2 minutes in between sittings at my desk, I still plan two 15 minute breaks as well as an hour and a half lunch during which I can relax, brainstorm and eat. The writing life is hard. It involves many hours spent alone, typing away in the dungeon of your dorm room or home office and sometimes, even if you’re around people, there is a feeling of isolation. Use your break times wisely. Use them to refresh, rejuvenate and reenter the world of living, breathing people (rather than the awesome characters you are dreaming up!) At a 9-5 office job, you would never get through the day without a break. Make sure that you don’t burn yourself out just because you’re finally doing work that you love! That passion will only expand if it is given time to rest.
Keep a list of goals in sight
Above my desk, I keep a list of freelance writing goals. It is important that these goals be visible, not only because they are an inspiration, but because they remind us of our individual brand. This influences the articles that we pitch, how we pitch them and where we decide to pitch them by keeping us focused on our goals. I am a huge visualization buff and one of my favorite things to do is post a futuristic biography at the top of the page to remind me where I ultimately want to end up, and also what I want to be known for! Try this exercise: pretend like you have a Wikipedia page and write down your title sentence. What are you known for? What kind of work do you do?
If you follow these three tips, I guarantee you will be on your way to Freelance Writing Wonderland- a place where you can feel safe to take risks and follow your passions! To learn more about the FRFS series, visit here. Happy Writing!