And oh yeah, in 2016, I landed a contract with a traditional trade publisher to write a book on freelancing (70,000 words in a 5-week span).
While doing all of this, I also updated two to three blogs consistently; write weekly newsletters; craft posts for social media; wrote lead-generating ebooks for my blog(s); and answer questions that come in from readers. So I write — a lot.
One question I get quite often is how I manage to put out so much material — and still do freelance writing for clients. Yeah, I still do that too; although most of my time these days is spent on my own content.
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My Top 3 “Secrets” for Writing 5,000 to 10,000 Words Per Day
That’s on average how many words I write per day. I touched on part of it in this post, but it’s deeper than the mechanics of writing fast.
I. Life Plan
I have a plan of what I want my life to look like in 2, 3, 5, 10 years. What I do today either gets me closer to that plan, or further away from it. I’m ever mindful of this, which I’ve discussed quite a few times here.
II. Time-Block Days
I can’t overstate how important this is. When you time block your days, even if you get thrown off track, it’s easy to take a look at your calendar to see what you should be doing.
I always have an annual goal list, which I usually break down by quarter. Then it’s just a matter of staying on top of those goals by breaking them down into monthly, then weekly, then daily goals.
I don’t get too stressed if I miss a goal — which I do all the time. I just try to make sure that I make it up by quarter’s end, and certainly by year’s end.
Since 2011, except for two years (2013, 2014), I’ve written a goals list.
Looking back over those years, I can see that they keep me on track with my overall life goals, which is why I’ll probably always do them from now on out.
It’s fun to go back through them and see what’s changed, what I achieved; what I didn’t achieve, and what I’ve added. It’s like a snapshot of where I was — personally and professionally — over a span of time.
Freelance Writing Goals: 2011-2017
What a Typical Time-Blocked Day Looks Like for Me
FYI, following is what a typical time-blocked day might look like.
8-9:30 Place ads on backpage (yeah, I still do this 3-4 times a week). I place them for my products, for affiliate products and to get leads streaming in to my affiliate marketing site. I like to start my day like this because it gives my brain cells time to wak up before I start writing.
Note: My alarm is set for 7:00 am, but I usually don’t climb out of bed until 7:30. Then, I take a half hour to get dressed, make my bed, have coffee, uusually with CNN in on the background to hear what’s going on in the world.
9:30-12 Write a blog post. This can be for this blog, or a guest post I’ve promised someone. Since I started affiliate marketing, I’m trying to update it more — at least 3 times a week — because I have so much more to talk about!
12-12:30 Lunch (If I don’t schedule it, I literally won’t eat). Even when I do schedule it, many days I skip it and continue on with what I’m working on. Bad habit; I know. I’m trying to get better at it.
12:30-3:30 Update existing ebook (non-fiction) and/or write on fiction book
3:30-5:00 Update social media accounts; respond to emails from blog readers / affiliate marketing group FB participants; add new auto-responder email(s) to affilaite marketing list.
5:30-5:30 Map out day for tomorrow.
5:30 Suit up; hit the road for a run.
Now, do my days always go like this? No, absolutely not. If I have special projects that I’m working on (like a Joint Venture project I’m working on with another freelance writer now), then my daily calendar takes a back seat until that project is finished. This could be days or a few weeks.
But the value in having my days time blocked is that I have a structure from which to work to achieve my overall goals. This way, I don’t waste days, weeks or (horror — months!) without getting anything accomplished.
III. Work More
Most of my goals that are outside of writing — eg, uploading exiting books into new platforms like Draft2Digital — are done on the weekends.
Most weeks, I work six days; sometimes seven. For example, I’m writing this blog post on a Saturday afternoon because I want to get a jump on next week. I only updated this blog twice last week and am trying to up that to at least three times a week, so in order not to fall behind again next week, I’m being proactive.
Even though the weather is gorgeous today (here in Jamaica where I live), my goals are important to me, and I happen to love what I do — I really, really do! It doesn’t seem like work and the hours literally fly by.
As you can see, there’s no magic formula. Just hard work and persistence. My success is deeply personal to me; it’s a burning desire because I never, ever want to have to go back to work for someone else again.
That’s what gets me out of bed and into my work each morning. And luckily, I love what I do so for the most part, it’s pure joy.
What’s your motivation?
Share in the comments section below. What I can tell you without a doubt is this, when you find your internal motivation, the words will flow. That’s about as simply as I can state it.
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P.P.S.: I’m Ready to Put These Tips to Use and Start Earning $100-$250+/Day as a Freelance Writer.
I hope all is well! I just wanted to let you know that this month marked the first month that my writing income surpassed that of my day job.
Thanks to your help and inspiration, I have more work than I know what to do with and have successfully landed a number of clients that give me recurring work. Thanks again for your advice!
SEO writing changed the trajectory of my freelance writing career. It can do the same for you!