Happy New Year To You! This is a guest post by Carol Tice who runs Make A Living Writing . Through her website, courses and membership group, she tells you what you need to know to rock it as a freelance writer and earn what you’re worth (which is probably more than you think!)
Ever needed to write, but you just couldn’t?
There are a lot of distractions out there, both online and off. Pesky interruptions from family members who have the nerve to crave your attention. Those fun LOLcats. Bejeweled. Choose your poison.
There’s also so much to know about how to write compelling online content. Always one more newsletter to read, one more great blog post to study.
In a word, you’re overwhelmed. There’s too much information, too many distractions, and it’s hard to clear the decks and get in that creative place where you can do your best writing.
How can you overcome overwhelm and focus on writing? Here are seven strategies:
1. Find your quiet time. It might be early in the morning or late at night, or while you eat lunch. But somewhere in your schedule there’s a time when it’s naturally less frenzied. Set aside that time strictly for writing.
2. Unplug stuff. Turn off the radio, and the email chime that dings every time you get a new message. If necessary, switch off the computer. Try hand-writing on a pad of paper or using an old typewriter if that will get you away from your online time-wasters.
3. Declutter. It’s hard to clear your head if your desk is piled to the sky with papers. Remember — think files, not piles.
4. Change your scene. If you can’t get anything done in your usual spot — whether the office or your back bedroom — try somewhere else. Hit a coffee shop or a coworking space, or sit in a park.
5. Delegate. If you have some administrative tasks you could either offload or postpone to clear the decks for writing, do it. Too much time pressure can backfire and mean nothing gets written.
6. Realize you’re good enough. You’ll learn more about how to be a better copywriter another day. For now, you do your best based on what you know. Spit out a first draft and save the rewrites and critique for after you’re done.
7. Set a timer. Block out an hour or even a half-hour where you commit to do nothing but writing. Don’t get up or turn to other tasks until the time is up. You may be surprised how much writing you can crank out once you’re forbidden all other activities.
How do you focus and get the writing done when you’re overwhelmed? Leave a comment and add to my list.
Carol Tice writes the Make a Living Writing blog. Together with Linda Formichelli of The Renegade Writer, she’s created a free Webinar about the 10 biggest obstacles freelance writers face (and how to overcome them). You can check it out through Thursday. Click here to access the free recording!