Consistently writing and sharing your ideas online is practically a necessity to being a successful freelancer. Running a blog or similar publication is a great way to keep your online presence fresh and interesting. It also gives you the opportunity to show potential employers what you know.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Write a true rough draft. Once you start writing, do not stop until the bulk of the work is finished. If you’re too critical early on, it’s easy to get hung up on how the words sound and you lose focus on the message. So, rough draft first, then read through again and edit as necessary.
- It won’t always be possible but, if you can, publish on the day you start writing. The problem with ending mid-thought and returning later is you lose the original motivation and have to get back into the mindset all over again. Also, your daily mood alone can affect the tone of your writing in very different ways. One day you’re happy, the next day you might be stressed. You don’t want those diverse feelings being mixed into the same piece of writing.
- Don’t wait for the right time; make time. This one is huge. It can be easy to think, “I’ll write when I’m inspired,” but that is hardly reliable. Another problem is you can’t predict where you’ll be when inspiration will strike and it may not always be an opportune time to start writing (i.e. say you’re in an important meeting). I know what you’re thinking, “But how do I schedule writing if I don’t know what to write about?” It’s ok, do it anyway. Writing is a fantastic, underrated way to clear your head and make room for new ideas.
- In addition to the previous point, let’s say you do get that lightbulb moment at a time when you can’t write it down. The best thing you can do is make a simple reminder somehow (use your smartphone, tie a string around your finger, whatever) and then stop thinking about your idea until you’re able to fully write it down. New ideas have a “freshness” about them and if you spend that initial excitement before getting the chance to write it down, your idea may lose its luster when you return to it later on.
- When choosing a schedule to write, experiment with different times of the day and then stick with whatever works best for you. Personally, I write the most during late evenings after I finish my main work and the family has gone to bed.
- Don’t underestimate the value someone else may find in your writing. Sometimes we’re our own worst critics — it can be very easy to talk yourself out of hitting the publish button on articles you may not think are gold. Don’t give into that mentality. Some of my most popular articles have been ones that I honestly didn’t think many people would care for.
- Here’s another big one: publish and then move on! Don’t keep refreshing the page to see how many views, likes, or shares your article has gained. That stuff will happen with or without you frantically checking so you’re better off finishing your writing, then moving on to another task.
- Lastly, ideas have expiration dates and won’t be relevant forever. Trust me on this one; I have dozens upon dozens of articles I’ve been saving for years and now most of them are completely outdated. Don’t let ideas die this way.