For the past year, I’ve been working as a full-time writer and blogger. It’s an amazing experience to be living my dream: getting paid to write all day long. But even though I’ve always loved writing, it turns out that there are things about being a full-time writer that still surprise me.
Here are 25 things I’m learning since embarking on this new phase of my life.
|1. Embrace the challenges of full-time writing.|
|2. Time management is crucial for productivity.|
|3. Building a supportive writing community is valuable.|
|4. Consistency in writing practice leads to improvement.|
|5. Balancing creativity and discipline is essential.|
|6. Learning to handle rejection positively is important.|
|7. Setting realistic writing goals keeps you motivated.|
|8. Editing and revising are integral parts of the process.|
|9. Networking with other writers can open new opportunities.|
|10. Finding your unique writing voice is an ongoing journey.|
You Can’t Count On Your Writing To Cover All Your Expenses
I’ve learned that you can’t count on your writing to cover all your expenses. This might not be true for other writers, but I’m a freelance writer who doesn’t have a day job outside of writing and editing, so when I make $1,000 in one month and spend $1,500 or less (or sometimes more), my savings take a hit.
You need a backup plan. You should have some kind of income stream besides writing so that if something happens with your work if you get laid off from another job or if prospects dry up—you’ll still have money coming in through other means.
Having multiple streams of income helps insulate yourself from volatility in any one market or career path; for example, even if one source dries up temporarily, another may remain steady until things improve again.
Building strong writing skills is essential for every writer. Discover 10 Things That Will Make You a Better Writer and take your writing to the next level with practical tips and advice.
People Are More Willing To Help You Than You Might Think
You never know when someone might be able to help you—and they’re more willing than you think.
I’ve learned that people are generally kind and helpful, if you give them a chance. Helpful friends will listen to your problems, offer advice, and even show up to help if they can. Helpful coworkers will come around if you ask for their input or assistance with something at work.
Helpful neighbors will lend an ear when yours is full of noise from children’s games and the sounds of neighbors working in their yards or coming home after long days at work themselves. And helpful family members? They’ll often be there for you no matter what time of day or night it may be! In fact, most people would agree that being helpful is one of the most rewarding parts about being human.
Writing Full-Time Is Different From Writing On The Side
Writing full-time is different from writing on the side. I’m still learning how to make this work within my life, but here are some of the things that have been helpful so far:
Writing full-time is a lot more work than writing on the side. It’s not for everyone and it definitely isn’t right for me either.
I need breaks from writing especially when I first start each day! But then I can go back to it later in the day or evening after I’ve had some time away from my computer screen. It’s important not just for my mental health but also because it helps me think about what else there is in life besides books (which leads us into…).
One thing that has really surprised me since starting this job is how much time goes into marketing yourself as an author these days! You don’t just write your book and throw it out there; you have to build up an audience who knows who you are before anyone will buy your book (even if they do buy it).
And then once they’ve read one of your books they’ll want another one and another one after that. So even though publishing companies might charge authors a fee when they publish their works with them, many people still choose self-publishing because they don’t want their money going towards paying those costs instead of being used towards producing more content themselves.”
Developing effective writing habits can significantly impact your writing journey. Explore 12 Writing Habits That Will Make You a Better Writer to learn actionable strategies for enhancing your writing process.
Spending Time With Loved Ones Can Be More Fulfilling Than Writing.
I’m learning that spending time with loved ones can be more fulfilling than writing. There are so many things we take for granted in our daily lives, but they become more precious when you don’t have them to rely on anymore. I used to think that my life would revolve around writing and my career would come first before anything else.
But now I realize how important it is to spend quality time with the people who matter most. If you don’t have anyone in your life, then consider getting a dog or cat because animals always have time for us!
I know that it might sound selfish, but as an author whose book sales are directly related to how much she writes each month and how many hours she spends editing or promoting her books I find myself wondering if I’m doing enough “work.”
Sometimes I wish there were some type of magic hourglass so I could see exactly how much time I’ve spent working versus relaxing or hanging out with friends and family; then again maybe one day technology will advance far enough where there’s some way we can track our productivity throughout each day (or even week).
But until then…try saying yes! Say yes when someone asks if they can borrow something from your house—even though it may seem small like scissors or paper clips—say yes when someone invites their niece into town from another state so she doesn’t feel alone during her visit; say YES when someone asks if they can take photos at your wedding reception without charging them any money
It’s Easier To Get In The Zone When You Don’t Have A Deadline
It’s easier to get in the zone when you don’t have a deadline.
When you’re writing for an employer or client, it’s hard to step away from your work. You can’t just shut off your laptop and go play video games (but if that’s what you need to do, then go ahead).
When you have a boss breathing down your neck about when that report will be done, there isn’t much time for procrastination or self-doubt not unless you want them coming at you with a sharpened stake. So when I started freelancing full-time earlier this year, I was surprised by how much more easily I could concentrate on my writing without having someone breathing down my neck telling me what needed to be done next.*
Of course, it helps that as a freelancer there are no real deadlines; I’m not rushing around trying to meet some arbitrary date set by someone else. Instead of racing against the clock until all hope of finishing is lost (and often having less than 24 hours before that happens), now I can take my time and write without pressure.
But even with no immediate deadlines looming overhead, taking regular breaks from writing is still important for mental health: It’s easy to get sucked into hours of staring at the same screen without doing anything productive because our brains are wired such that we feel compelled not just by financial necessity but also by fear of being left behind if we don’t keep up with current events.
So whenever possible whether that means taking 15 minutes between each session or stretching out over several days/weeks depending on workload
It’s important not only for writers themselves but also their readership
Increasing writing speed without compromising quality is a common goal for writers. Gain insights from My Secret to Writing Faster and Getting Published and discover techniques to boost your writing productivity.
Experts Are Everywhere, And They’re Happy To Talk About Their Knowledge Base
I’ve been a full-time writer for about six months now, and I can tell you that the transition from part-time to full-time was easier than I thought it would be. It might not have been as difficult for me as for others because of my previous experience writing about personal experiences, but it was still pretty smooth sailing.
The main reason that this was possible is because people are more willing to help than you may think. When you have time to deal with emails and messages, there are experts everywhere willing to share their knowledge base with you whether they’re published authors or just big fans of your work! And if they don’t know something? They’ll do some research on their own so they can answer your question properly (and hopefully even offer up some additional insights)
Doing Your Taxes Is Less Stressful When You Have A Simpler Schedule
Taxes are a pain. You don’t want to deal with them, but you have to do them.
You may find yourself in a position where your taxes are more complicated than they would be if you were working full time. For example, I worked as an adjunct professor while I was writing my first book and writing full-time now, so I had two different W2s last year: one from my job at the university, and another from my publisher for royalties earned on the books that were published that year.
This means that when I’m doing my taxes in early 2020 (that is, this coming spring), it will take me longer than usual because of all the extra paperwork involved in claiming those different income streams on separate forms at different times of the year (I mean, obviously).
That said: there are ways around this! For one thing and this is something people don’t often talk about if you’re self-employed as a writer or artist or freelancer of any kind (or any other profession where your income fluctuates wildly throughout the year), then chances are good that your accountant has experience helping clients handle these situations in years past and can help guide you through this process as well.
Writing About Personal Experiences Is Easier Than Writing About Unfamiliar Topics
I’m learning that writing about personal experiences is easier than writing about unfamiliar topics.
The first time I wrote about my experience with depression was in the form of a letter to my younger self and it felt cathartic to share with others how I felt as a teenager, and how much I’ve grown since then.
Writing about personal experiences can also help us learn more about ourselves. For example, if you’ve been through a breakup recently, writing about your former relationship can help you understand what went wrong between you and the person who broke up your relationship (or vice versa). It’s like therapy!
Overcoming writer’s block is crucial for maintaining a consistent writing flow. Find out how to conquer this challenge in How to Let Go of Writer’s Block Once and for All and keep your creativity flowing.
Investing In Yourself Pays Off In Unexpected Ways
My life has changed so much since I became a full-time writer, and it’s all because of the time and effort I’ve put into improving myself. I’m learning new things every day, and those skills are helping me to become more productive than ever before.
They’re also making me more successful at work and helping me earn more moneywhich is great for my family’s future!
You Can’t Stay Focused All Day Long.
You don’t have to be working 24/7. You’ll burn out quickly if you try, and that’s not good for your health or your writing. Take breaks when you need them; don’t feel guilty about it. It’s ok if you don’t write for 10 hours straight on a Saturday, even though I know how tempting it can be I’ve been there myself!
If you’re having trouble focusing for extended periods of time, try setting a timer for 15 minutes at first (or half an hour if that seems like too much). When the timer goes off, close up shop for 15 minutes and go do something else.
This will allow some space between where your head was at before and when it starts up again after the break it makes it easier to start fresh later by giving yourself an opportunity to decompress a bit first (also: using timers is great because they keep track of how long things take).
You might also consider taking regular “micro-breaks” throughout the day where instead of stopping everything altogether (which takes longer), just leave what needs doing in progress while going off somewhere else entirely – maybe grab another cup of coffee while looking at Twitter or playing Netflix in another browser tab until lunchtime rolls around?
You Can’t Work Full-Time Hours Every Day And Stay Healthy, Mentally Or Physically
Working full-time hours for your writing career will not only exhaust you, but it can also have a negative effect on your health. You need to take breaks from writing in order to refresh and recharge. These breaks can be as simple as going for a walk around the block or spending some time with friends and family.
- Eat healthy food and drink plenty of water
- Get enough sleep every night (7-9 hours)
- Exercise regularly (30 minutes at least 4 times per week)
- Develop an active social life outside of work
Some Assignments Just Don’t Come Together, No Matter How Much Effort You Put Into Them
There’s a lot of talk about how to learn from failure, but it’s important to remember that some assignments just don’t come together, no matter how much effort you put into them. You can do everything right and still end up with an article that feels hollow or flat. When this happens, you have two choices:
- Throw all your energy into trying to make the piece great anyway, or
- Decide that this isn’t the right time for it and move on.
I’m not going to lie the first option is a lot more tempting than the second one (especially when there are deadlines looming). But making peace with your limitations will help prevent future frustration.
I’m Not As Comfortable With Silence As I Once Thought I Was
I’m not as comfortable with silence as I once thought I was.
When I was a kid, my family would gather in the living room to watch TV. It had a very large picture window that looked out onto an open field and the woods beyond it. The only noise in the room was the sound of nature outside: birds chirping, leaves rustling and wind blowing through branches.
There were no commercials interrupting our viewing experience; no one speaking over someone else’s words; no one asking questions that they’d rather not know the answers to. Just peace and quiet the kind of thing we don’t hear much anymore in this modern age of constant noise pollution by advertising, technology and loud people who talk too loudly on their phones or at restaurants where others are trying to enjoy their meals i.e., everyone except me!
People Forget That Freelance Writers Need To Take Vacations Too
- You and your writing will benefit from a break.
- Writers can’t be expected to be “on” all of the time, just like anyone else. We need time to recharge our batteries, get out of our heads, spend time with loved ones and get a change of scenery every once in awhile.
- There are no rules about how long you should take off or when you should come back—that’s up to you! But if I were advising someone who was thinking about going freelance full-time, I would suggest that they give themselves at least one week off per month (and ideally two) where they do nothing related to writing at all.
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Working At Home Is Not For Everyone, And It Isn’t Always Right For Me Either
You need to be disciplined.
I think that many writers mistakenly assume that they can work on a project whenever they choose, and they are surprised when they don’t get much done. It’s easy to get distracted by the internet, or laundry, or other people who want your attention. If you’re not disciplined enough to work in silence (and sometimes even if you are), then working at home might not be right for you.
The environment matters more than the time spent working on it.
If your house is messy and disorganized, it will affect how much work gets done in it—even if your computer is on top of a clean desk! If your pets are constantly underfoot or begging for attention, this will also hinder productivity.
Think about how much time would be wasted cleaning up after yourself if something was spilled all over the floor? That sort of thing happens often enough with kids it’s just one more reason why I prefer working outside my home instead of inside it when possible!
My goal in writing this piece was to document how I’ve changed as a writer over the past year and to share some of the things that have surprised me. While I may not have achieved all my goals yet, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made so far.
Each day is a struggle and a victory at the same time. As long as you keep moving forward, you’re doing something right!
Here are some additional resources to help you enhance your writing skills and pursue a successful writing career:
Improving Writing Skills: Tips and Techniques: Discover practical tips and techniques to improve your writing skills and create compelling content that engages your audience.
25 Habits That Will Make You a Writer: Explore 25 habits that can cultivate your writing abilities and contribute to your growth as a writer, shared by experienced author Shaun Grimes.
How to Become a Writer: The Ultimate Guide: Delve into this comprehensive guide that offers insights on how to become a writer, covering various aspects of starting and advancing your writing career.
How can I improve my writing skills effectively?
Improving your writing skills requires consistent practice, reading widely, and seeking feedback from peers or mentors. Additionally, studying resources like writing guides and workshops can help you refine your writing techniques.
What habits contribute to becoming a better writer?
Developing consistent writing habits, setting achievable goals, and regularly reading different types of content are habits that can contribute to becoming a better writer. Experimenting with different writing styles and genres can also enhance your versatility.
How do I start a career as a writer?
Starting a career as a writer involves identifying your niche or preferred writing genre, building a portfolio of your work, and actively seeking writing opportunities. Networking within writing communities and submitting your work to relevant platforms can help kickstart your writing career.
What role does consistency play in writing success?
Consistency is vital in writing success as it helps you establish a routine, improve your skills over time, and maintain engagement with your audience. Regular writing practice and consistent content creation contribute to building a strong online presence.
How can I overcome writer’s block?
Writer’s block can be overcome by trying different writing prompts, taking breaks to clear your mind, and exploring new experiences or perspectives. Freewriting without worrying about perfection can also help you overcome mental barriers and regain your creative flow.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.