Zen and the Art of Coffee: Finding Your Zone as a Freelance Writer
Writing content is nothing like writing a story. There are no climaxes, plot twists, or metaphorical arcs that tie it all nicely together. Yes, at times, it can be a drag. But does it have to be?
As freelance writers, we have the ability to work anywhere, at anytime, and completely naked. This unrivaled ability to work as we please stirs envy in the hearts of our peers, and it keeps us going when writing about dentists in [SEO-optimized city]. Yet we can learn to love the otherwise dull assignments, and find ways to make our time as writers more productive and fulfilling.
Love Your Writing
When you have to write about something monotonous or, simply put, boring, it can help to imagine it as your own product or business. No longer are you writing for someone, but you are writing for your product or business. Suddenly it becomes the greatest thing in the world, and you can’t wait to tell everyone about it. Now you don’t have to struggle to reach the word count; you have to tone it down. Remember not to neglect the client’s instructions or wants, because it’s still going to them, but find a way to make every piece a pleasure to write.
Embrace Your Muse
As freelancers, we don’t have bosses telling us to get started. We know this, yet it can often be hard to overcome. All it takes is a quick click on a link and you’re watching reruns of Breaking Bad. While this is hard to avoid, we need something to snap us out of this hypnotic online procrastination.
For me, it’s coffee. I love coffee, and just the scent of it is enough to get my brain wired for work. Like Pavlov’s dog, I have ingrained coffee into my work ethic by having it only before, during, or immediately after work. Since I want to drink coffee all day and night, I have to write just as much.
You don’t have to become addicted to caffeine to be productive, but you should find your own muse to embrace. It can be a spot in your room where the words flow like wine, it can even be wine if that’s your thing, or it can be a desk at the local library or cafe. Maybe you put on a fancy suit or dress to simulate a more traditional job. You can even ask your neighbor to come over and yell at you for not being productive. Whatever it is, you have to find it and embrace it.
The hardest thing about the freelance life is truly taking a break. A break is not frantically checking for new orders; a break is closing the laptop and emptying your mind of work. Eat, exercise, go shopping, just do anything aside from work or thinking about work. Plan ahead for breaks too. Don’t get stuck thinking about work when an important event comes around; either finish before, or let the client know. Embrace the fluidity of this job, and know that it goes for the client as well. Then sit back down in your favorite chair, enjoy a cup of coffee, and set the words free.
Erik V is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.