December 26, 2012 23 Reactions

The Writer’s Desk: Get the Right Start Daily on Your Writing Tasks

By , under Writer's Desk. Laura Spencer is a freelance writer, editor and blogger with over 20 years of writing experience, managing her own writing business since 2002.

Some writers jump out of bed first thing in the morning, pen in hand, and start writing. I’m not one of them.

Whoever said that most people get their best work done in the morning doesn’t know me. I am more of a mid-day kind of writer. My mind doesn’t really start focusing until I’ve had breakfast and a diet soda.

With that in mind, what’s the best way for a freelance writer to start their day?

I’d say that it depends on the writer. If you’re the sort that wakes up ready to go full steam ahead, then by all means, that is exactly what you should do.

If you’re not that kind of writer, you might be wondering how to make mornings productive. I do think it’s important to have a daily writing process. Without one, it’s just too easy to put off getting started. Before you know it, you are missing deadlines.

Here’s a writing process that works for me:

1. Start with Breakfast

Mine is complete with diet soda (for the caffeine). While I’m eating, I take part in social media.

Spencer’s writing desk with a view

Like most freelance writers, I maintain a social media presence on several platforms (Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn). It’s easy enough to read, share, and comment on other people’s writing while I’m waking up.

2. Check Email

Fortunately, I’ve whittled my email down to two main accounts  one for business email and one for personal email.

If I need to respond to anything I find in my email inbox, I do so now. (I usually ignore email messages while I’m writing to minimize the number of interruptions.)

3. Look for Possible Freelance Writing Projects

I do this in the morning, because I’ve found that the earlier that I respond to any projects that I am interested in, the more likely I am to get the work.

I have several places (now including Contently), that I check for work regularly.

4. Start Writing

By now, it’s mid-morning, no later than 10 a.m. That’s okay, because that’s the time of day when I actually do my best writing.

I take a look at my to-do list (created the night before) to determine which writing project to tackle first.

5. Tackle Routine and Business Tasks

I feel less creative at the end of day, so for me this is the right time to do routine work. This is also when I update my to-do list for the next day.

I do make a deliberate effort to end my workday between 5 and 6 p.m. (and sometimes I’m even successful).

Will this system of work be effective for every single freelance writer? Of course not. But it will work for some.

Some takeaways for all freelance writers who wish to develop their own writing process are:

  1. Know when your best writing time is and devise a process for writing that takes advantage of that.
  2. Make sure that your writing system includes all key tasks. It may take several tries to get it right.
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