One of the first things you learn as a freelancer is you have to keep writing even when you don’t feel like it. Even when the words aren’t flowing. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
I don’t know about you but after the panic and stress of adjusting to a new normal and a world changed forever, I haven’t felt like writing as much.
And yet, there’s still a job to do.
Finding and maintaining focus has been something of a challenge (understatement) and I’ve had to resort to some pretty strict self-care routines to stay balanced. Well, as balanced as possible.
Extra Credit: 10 Tips to Help You Get in the Zone to Write
How to keep writing when things are hard
We’ve all endured and will continue enduring loss and other hard things. We just will. So how can we find a way to get words on paper, even when it’s the last thing we want to do?
Here are a few tips I have found helpful for getting unstuck. Maybe the words won’t come like the used to. Perhaps they’ll take a long time to happen. But they will come.
If you haven’t heard of the Pomodoro Technique then please open your mind to trying something new.
If you have used it before, then you know how much you can accomplish in just 25 minutes.
All you have to do is commit to focus on your writing for 25 minutes. Set a timer and get typing. Or handwriting. Or whatever. Even if you write “I don’t know what to write,” over and over for a bit. I dare you to do that and not get the juices flowing. The action of starting and the discipline of continuing will serve you well.
Stop when the timer beeps
This is really hard for me! Pomodoros are awesome for getting going and when the 25 minutes are up often I don’t want to stop.
But do stop.
When the timer goes off, stop where you are, even if you’re in the middle of a sentence. Stop what you’re doing, get up and take a five-minute break. After five minutes sit down and pick up where you left off.
It’s like a self-made writing prompt.
I know it sounds like you’ll lose your momentum and get off track but after your mind learns the ways of the Poms you’ll find yourself even more invigorated to keep going after you have your short break.
At least try it, OK?
Telling writers to get up and go outside isn’t new, and it’s not even the first time I’ve said “get outside!” But it bears repeating. Because it works!
If you’re spinning your wheels get up and go outside. Even 15 minutes will make a difference. Change your scenery, get some steps in and breathe in the fresh air. Chill out. Walk around, then return to your desk and get to work. You’ll see.
If you’re really stuck, set it aside and come back to it later
There’s a time for discipline and there’s a time to put it in your drawer and do something else for a while. If you’re forcing words and you’re getting nowhere, you may be better served to stop.
Sure, this could be construed as giving up but you’re not quitting. You’re just letting the thoughts roll around your subconscious while. A little while.
We’re looking for balance, remember. You’ll learn to tell what your poor, addled writing brain needs to get back into the swing of things.
I’d also recommend only using this tip if you can afford the time to step away for a while. If you’re on deadline…no dice. You’ve got to figure this out another way.
Extra credit: How to Create a Writing Schedule
We’re all doing our best here. And things are often hard. But if you’re going to make it in this freelance writing game then you’re going to have to find ways to keep writing even when everything sucks.
Figuring out these life hacks doesn’t fix everything but it will help you keep moving forward, and that’s worth something.
If you’ve found creative ways to keep writing I’d love to hear about it and learn from your experiences. Let me know!
One more thing. You may be interested in my free resource library. This is where I keep my files, downloads, ebooks, worksheets and whatever else I manage to create. I love sharing what I learn and want to keep adding to this library so it becomes a wealth of helpful goodness.
This is a free resource but I do require a password to access the library itself. You can get access by popping your email address into the form below.