The 4 Keys To Unlocking Writing Productivity as a Freelancer

The following is a guest post by Linda Craig. Linda is a content specialist at Assignment Masters writing service. She is currently working on her PhD project and writing articles for pleasure. Feel free to reach her by Twitter.

Writing Productivity

When you take a look at the records for freelance writing hourly rates, you realize that some writers make over $60 for a single hour. If they work only 4 hours a day with that rate, they can easily make $6000 in a month without sacrificing their hobbies and social life.

You, on the other hand, might find yourself writing many hours a day to handle that content overload. Maybe you made some progress in terms of getting more money for your work, but you’re still not making anywhere near $60 per hour.

Many freelance writers find themselves in such situation. This is a very competitive industry. It’s open to writers from any country, and its flexibility is part of the problem. Beginners are willing to accept lower offers because otherwise they don’t stand a chance against all that competition. As a result, the average rates that clients are willing to pay are getting lower by the day, and you’re forced to accept huge volumes of work to make enough money to get you through the month.

Relax; the situation is not as hopeless as it seems. In the continuation, you’ll find tips that will help you handle the workload and become a more efficient content writer.

Organize the working process

This is the first thing you need to do. How much time are you spending in front of the computer screen? How much of that time are you actually devoting to work? If you notice that you’re wasting a serious portion of your day browsing through social media and posting forum threads, you need to eliminate those distractions and start managing your time properly.

First, you need to block distracting websites with a browser extension. Try StayFocusd for Chrome or LeechBlock for Firefox – these add-ons will prevent you from accessing the websites you consider distracting.

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Everyone has different working rhythm. Content writing is a pretty flexible job, so you can organize the working process in a way that suits you. Do you notice that you can’t work in the morning no matter how hard you try to focus? Then, use the mornings for some relaxation and work in the afternoons and evenings. Observe your productivity in different parts of the day and organize your schedule accordingly.

Develop a framework

As every other content writer, you’re probably focused on a certain niche that reflects your skills and interests. Some people write beauty blogs, others are inclined towards technology, and some write news articles. Whatever your case is, you need to develop a common framework for the posts you usually write.

This basic structure will help you write more content in less time. That’s what productivity and task management is all about. For example, you can create a template with an introduction, body, and conclusion. You’ll use the introduction to write few sentences that will capture the reader’s attention. In the body of the text, you’ll offer practical tips, and you’ll wrap things up with a call to action. This is a scheme that never fails in the online world. When you identify your specific framework, you’ll easily develop the concept for each new post you’re about to write.

When you’re unable to deal with the workload, think about outsourcing

What happens if you have too much work to do, but no time to complete everything? That situation can easily occur if you’re dealing with multiple clients. You think “the more work I do, the more money I get,” but they you realize that you’ll have to sacrifice at least one project if you want to deal with the rest.

There is a solution: you can outsource part of your work to services that will complete it for a lower price than the one you’ll get. Take Assignment Masters as an example – the company connects you with an expert writer from the particular niche, so you’ll get things done as effectively as possible. Another option is to hire a virtual assistant long-term to take care of recurring tasks.

Use the right tools

With so many apps and tools that can boost a content writer’s daily routine, it would be a shame not to benefit from them. These are few of the tools that will refine your blogging process:

  • Help Scout – a customer service tool that enables you to collaborate with your clients and manage the busy inbox. If you’re working in a team, then this is a great tool that will help you automate actions and send bulk replies. You can also use Help Scout to create custom views. For example, you can set the tool to send all active conversations without a reply into a folder named “Overdue”.

Help-Scout

  • Google Calendar – an essential tool for organizing your workload. When you get a new task, update the calendar using the due date. Then, evaluate the time you’ll need for this task and organize the days before the deadline in a way that enables you to complete it without being overwhelmed by work. If you start using the calendar effectively, you’ll never miss a submission deadline and you won’t experience the pressure of having too much work to do within a short period of time.
  • ZenWriter – this writing environment is completely free of distractions. You install the software to your computer, and you launch yourself in a full-screen interface that leaves you alone with your thoughts. No unnecessary buttons and no fancy design that would distract your attention from what’s really important. The experience is similar to the one you get when writing in your favorite notebook.

Zenwriter

When you learn how to manage your workload and handle all those tasks on time, you’ll get more respect from your clients. Then, you can expect more responsible tasks that come with better payments. Are you ready for that?

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Benjamin Brandall

Benjamin Brandall is a content marketer at Process Street, and runs Secret Cave on the side. Find him on Twitter here.


3 Comments

I was writing professionally for years without a defined process, and don’t even want to think about the time I’ve lost.

Developing a framework, as you state, is essential. Couple that with a Pomodoro timer, and allot a predefined amount of time for each section of your content. Don’t forget to set aside time for editing, formatting, etc. You’ll learn to get the work done in the time you’ve set out, while improving your time-blocking skills.

This enables you to measure the time you’re putting in, and fine-tune your process for churning out content.

Zenwriter seems to be a powerful tool. I always get distracted while writing the content. I am using multiple chrome addon to block Facebook and other time wasting apps.
BTW, Hemingway is also a great little tool for the writers to improve writing. I can not live without this tool

Hey Dev,

Agreed, Hemingway is fantastic. Additionally, if you’re using a Mac, I’d highly recommend iA Writer, it’s a distraction-free markdown editor which can export to html – particularly useful if you’re using a text editor as an alternative to the back end of WordPress. 🙂


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