Freelance Writing: 8 Ways to Stay Motivated Throughout the Day

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As a freelance writing veteran, I can safely say I have experienced it all. Days where I couldn’t focus, days where I did nothing but stare at a blank document all day, and days where I just had zero motivation. The latter is one of the hardest things about freelancing in general and especially working from home.

While there are no “tricks” to staying motivated since everyone is different, I do find the following things to help tremendously. I hope you are able to find what works for you so you can stay motivated and make your writing dreams a reality!

Write what you love

Let me preface this by saying I know when you have client projects, you don’t usually have control over what you write. But for the rest of you – you do! If you are a freelance writer that writes content for revenue share sites, your own blogs, or submissions for print publications, you have a choice in what you write. What what you love. Don’t feel like you need to only write about what is currently trending. You will face burnout really fast when you’re spending 10 hours a day writing about investing in gold coins (been there many a time).

Make a to-do list

This is by far the best way to stay motivated throughout the day. Start each day by making a to-do list of what you need to accomplish that day. Write down big things, write down small things, write down what seems like menial tasks that you need to get done. Include writing, editing and proofreading, marketing your writing business, sending invoices, working on your website or personal blog, updating social media, and formatting completed eBooks. It doesn’t matter what it is you have to do; write it down! You will feel accomplished during the day when you start crossing things off your list, and that is the best motivation of all.

Write the easiest parts first

If you’re like me, introductions take you forever. I can write a 500-word article in about 20-30 minutes once the research is done. The intro easily takes more than half of that time. When you notice you have been staring at a blank document on the screen for a good 15 minutes, skip the intro and write the parts of the article or blog post that are easier for you. Do you find the conclusion or CTA the easiest to write? Okay! Go ahead and start there!

Personally, I find the body of an article to be the easiest. Once I get that written, I write the conclusion, then I go back up and write the intro. Knowing what is in the body of the article actually helps me get that intro done. Win-win!

Take a mental break

While you need to stick to a regular work schedule, you also need breaks. Stop trying to get all your work done in six straight hours without looking away from your computer screen. You are only making it harder on yourself. You should give yourself at least 5-10 minutes of non-computer time every hour or so. If you have been working for 4 hours straight, close your laptop and go for a walk or grab a snack. Your brain (and eyes) will thank you.

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Create a vision board

It may seem like a stupid suggestion or one that is recycled on every “motivational” blog post in the history of blog posts, but it’s for good reason. Some of us find our motivation visually. If your long-term goal with freelance writing, or freelancing in general, is to buy a house in the country, then that is going to become your best motivation. Every time you feel like giving up or spending half your workday watching Friends on Netflix, you will be reminded why you are doing this.

Whether you have a Pinterest board with inspirational quotes to keep you going or an actual vision board on the wall in front of your desk, it can be your new best friend.

Figure out your peak writing time

This is not the first time I have given this advice, and I doubt it will be the last. You have to find your peak writing time. Just because your favorite writing friend writes during normal business hours, doesn’t mean you have to. You’re a freelance writer who probably works from home. Guess what? You can write whenever you want! With the exception of strict deadlines, you should have some freedom to choose your own schedule.

Try to figure out what time of the day you get the most work done and when you are most motivated. For me, I can do the bulk of my day’s work between 5 and 10am. Once lunch time hits, I’m useless. I take advantage by waking up super early and working during that time. Find the time of day when you seem to get a little more done, and write!

Have a dedicated workspace

This is something that has taken me a little longer to learn, and I am still working on getting my office set up. You need a workspace that is only for writing. It doesn’t have to be a fancy office either. Set up a laptop desk in the corner of your living room, take over half the dining room table, or create an outdoor office on your patio. Wherever you feel comfortable and are free of distractions is perfect. Make this space your own, make it comfortable, and try to make it ergonomic to save your back, neck and shoulders a bit.

Challenge yourself

I like to play little games with myself during the day to keep me focused on my work. It gets a little tedious when you’re writing 30 articles about the same topic. If you keep losing your focus and motivation, try challenging yourself. Do you know you write articles in about 45 minutes? Set the timer for 40 minutes and see if you can finish it in that amount of time. When you beat the clock, try for 35 minutes. The trick here isn’t just to write as fast as you can, but to keep your quality up while still writing faster.

You may not be able to do it in the beginning, but it’s fun to time yourself and see exactly how long it takes to do each task. Plus, practicing actually makes you a better and faster writer, which either gives you time to increase your productivity, or lets you finish your work sooner.

What do you do to stay motivated? Share in the comments!

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Golden Globes 2015 + My Weekend in Pictures

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I didn’t watch the Golden Globes (aside from Tina and Amy’s highlights because they give me a lady boner), so I’m basically the best person to review it. I bet I can guess what happened:

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were brilliant and hilarious.

Someone made an inappropriate joke on stage and half the audience laughed, while the other half tried not to scowl because they knew they were on camera and had to pretend to be decent humans.

An award winner stood on stage and talked too long because they had to thank everyone who had anything to do with their movie, including thanking the entire cast and crew by first and last name.

TV shows I have never seen won awards (Bates Hotel and Boyhood anyone?)

Lupita Nyongo looked naturally dazzling.

Instead of watching the Golden Globes, I just looked up the winners and watched celebs live-tweet it. My favorite winners were:

Julianne MooreYay redhead girl power!

Amy AdamsYay redhead girl power! Again!

Matt BomerThe only one whose show I have actually seen

Jeffrey TamborThe sweetest man in Hollywood

Kevin SpaceyWho doesn’t love Kevin Spacey? 

If you’re like me and just want the highlights without actually watching award shows, follow https://twitter.com/unfoRETTAble. She is the best live tweeter of all things awesome.

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My Weekend in Pictures

We gave this little monster a bath.

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I cleaned out the closet. I do have clothes, I promise.

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I watched Friends while I cleaned out the closet.

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I drank a screwdriver out of this cup. Classy.

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Sometimes I’m like “I have no life,” and then I take pictures of everything productive I did over the weekend and I’m like “The party never stops.” Seriously. Dog baths, chores, alcohol, and re-watching a show I have seen about a billion times. It’s amazing I’m still standing after this crazy weekend.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and is only mildly irritated it’s Monday!

 

Weekly Round-Up Vol. 1 // Friends, Pinterest, Bubble Baths

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Monday: Zoe turned five! My monster girl turned 5 years old this week. She is as spunky and weird as always.

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Wednesday: Anxiety Diaries update about learning to drive again. I share the challenges I have been facing with anxiety and how I am able to drive again.

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Thursday: On Bubble Bath Day, I shared 4 fun and easy homemade bubble bath recipes. On the completely pointless holiday, I found some delicious-sounding bubble bath recipes and posted them. FYI: Totally making the apple one.

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Friday: I shared my very first Friday Favorites! This was probably my second-funnest post (see the Friends post!) this week. So much pretty.

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Saturday: Find out what Pinterest has taught me about myself. Basically 8 things I learned I now love. Some really surprised me!

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Sunday: I listed my top 10 favorite Friends episodes! SO. HARD. If you’re a fan of Friends, try coming up with only 10 favorite episodes. I doubt anything this year will be as challenging. Because you know.. TV is super important.

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It was a pretty eventful week overall! My goal to write a post every day has (almost) worked so far, minus Tuesday where I was having an epically lazy day and didn’t do a thing.

How was your week? Did you post anything fun? Feel free to share in the comments!

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The One With My 10 Favorite Friends Episodes (one from every season)

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If you’re anything like me, Friends showing up on Netflix finally is the best thing to happen all year. Yeah, it’s only January 11th. Shut up. It doesn’t matter that I have all the seasons on DVD and have seen them all on syndication about a bajillion times. Still excited it’s on Netflix.

I have been going through it again from the beginning and decided to try and come up with my favorite episode from each season. This was by the far the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life.

How can I choose just TEN of my favorite episodes? It was really hard. Even with the runner-ups and other episodes I listed, I missed so many good ones. Going through the list of episodes, it’s pretty obvious Season 6 is the best season of the entire series. I absolutely love almost every single episode.

Season 1 Episode 13: The One With the Boobies

Runner-up Episode 5: The One With the East German Laundry Detergent

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Season 2 Episode 19 – The One Where Eddie Won’t Go

Runner-up Episode 21: The One With the Bullies

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Season 3 Episode 3: The One With the Jam

Runner-up Episode 7: The One With the Race Car Bed

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Season 4 Episode 2: The One With the Cat

Runner-up Episode 1: The One With the Jellyfish

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Season 5 Episode 11: The One With All the Resolutions (And Ross’s leather pants)

Runner-up Episode 9: The One With Ross’s Sandwich

Others I love: The One With Joey’s Back, The One With Chandler’s Work Laugh, The One With the Ride Along

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Season 6 Episode 10: The One with the Routine

Runner-up Episode 8: The One With Ross’s Teeth

Others I love: The One With Joey’s Porsche, The One Where Phoebe Runs, The One Wheer Ross Got High, The One With the Apocethary Table, The One With Unagi, The One With Joey’s Fridge, The One Where Paul’s the Man

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Season 7 Episode 8: The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs

Runner-up Episode 3: The One With Phoebe’s Cookies

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Season 8 Episode 9: The One With the Halloween Party

Runner-up Episode 10: The One With Monica’s Boots

Others I love: The One With the Rumor, The One With the Videotape, The One With the Birthing Video

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Season 9 Episode 7: The One With Ross’s Inappropriate Song

Runner-up Episode 15: The One With the Mugging

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Season 10 Episode 3: The One With Ross’s Tan

Runner-up Episode 5: The One Where Rachel’s Sister Babysits

Others I love: The Last One

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What are your favorites?

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8 Things Pinterest Taught Me About Myself

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Do you remember the days when you used to scour websites for images of things you liked, right-click-saved, and organized all the images into folders on your computer? No? Just me? Okay. Well, that was my version of Pinterest before Pinterest was a thing.

Over the last year or so, I have learned a lot of things about myself. There are a lot of trends that I never would have imagined liking, and now sort of love. It goes a lot further than the chevron/gray/yellow extravaganza of last year. Let’s just put that to rest, shall we?

Here are 8 things I have learned about myself since Pinterest trapped me came along:

1. I love succulents.

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2. Put gold on it, and you win.

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3. It’s all about the abstract art. Who knew?

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4. Hedgehogs.

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5. Garden sheds. I want to become a gardener just so I can have a shed.

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6. Terrariums are everything. I LOVE terrariums. I have no idea why. I mean, I now realize I like succulents, so yeah.. it makes sense.

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7. I’m super into shirts with animals on them.

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8. Life is better with a little color. Or a lot. Or like a nausea-inducing rainbow of color.

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Friday Favorites Vol. 1 // Dog paintings, vintage typewriters, and DIY woven rugs

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What a week it has been! I can’t believe it’s Friday already. I almost posted every day.. I missed one day where my only excuse is being too lazy. My bad. But 6 days of posts isn’t bad.

Happy Friday if you’re one of those freaks that only works Monday through Friday. Good job!

And here’s my first Friday Favorites post. It is so “bloggy” it almost feels dirty. No turning back now!

This Woven Circle Mat by A Beautiful Mess

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This Pink Typewriter by thespectaclenewt on Etsy

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These pet paintings by DawgArt on Etsy

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This Ceramic Cat Planter at Urban Outfitters

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This entire Etsy shop

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This mobile office

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This Twitter account

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Bubble Bath Day // 4 Homemade Bubble Bath Recipes

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According to Holiday Insights, January 8th is Bubble Bath Day. They have no idea where it came from, why today was chosen, or who made it up. Which means some random person was all.. I’m going to take a bubble bath today. And everyone was like YAY BUBBLE BATH DAY. I think that’s how all the best non-holidays are created.

First, let’s take a moment to remember Mr. Bubble. You have no idea how hard it was to type Bubble and not Bubbles. I thought it was Mr. Bubbles. I will still call it Mr. Bubbles. Moving on. Did you know they still make Mr. Bubbles bubble bath?! I need it.

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Now onto the recipes. If you’re not in the mood to pretend you’re a tiny human who wants a bath that smells like bubble gum, you can make an adult version. Here are 3 bubble bath recipes (and a bonus bath salts recipe) that are totally appropriate to make for an adult bath.

If you want, you can make it and just leave it on the counter so guests think you use this fancy stuff. But in reality, you’re using the Mr. Bubbles you keep under your bathroom sink.

Nobody has to know.

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Apple Bubble Bath

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Honey Bubble Bath

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Vanilla Bubble Bath

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Lavender Bath Salts