This is a Guest Post by Bettina Bertolini
Hunky dude Ryan Reynolds was caught saying, ‘I don’t expect success. I prepare for it.’ After a bit of drooling and stalking on social media, I decided to incorporate his sensible words into my own milieu.
If you’ve ever contemplated acting on your desire to write the hell out of the idea you’ve been chewing on like it’s the last stick of gum – hear this dear fellow. It may seem easy to write. We all do it every day: we write budgets, New Year resolutions (and tear up the paper after the first week) and maybe a little journaling. We did it in school: wrote essays, stories, poems (for the boy everyone knew you secretly liked).But now, you’ve decided to freelance. You have the brains, the courage and a computer you’ve used thus far for streaming way too many shows (aka one of the reasons you decided to shake off the laziness and actually do something worthwhile).
Writing something authentic and crispy fresh each day isn’t a ride in a park – it’s more like riding a cactus bull, therefore I’d like to share some freelance writing tricks I’ve had up my sleeve. Make sure to seize the opportunity to sleep. A well-rested brain is a functioning brain. When I’m too tired I start to make lirtle mirstakes.
- Make sure you surround yourself with inspiration and positive people. This can be anything and everything that makes you happy (but not too happy). Play your favourite music in the background, open the curtains so you can see your goofy pup chewing everything you own or have your favourite book close-by so you can summon inspiration when smelling that lovely scent of old, yellow paper. Write down your dreams and aspirations so you remember what you’re working toward. Even though you will most likely be working from home, don’t mix your personal space too much with your work space. Divide your humble abode into sections – so whenever you need to smash your laptop against the wall, you can go to your ‘work-free’ zone and rest.
- As a freelance writer, it’s exceptionally important to have your own voice. This will also count in your favour when marketing your services to clients. When you need a topic to write about, don’t just Google. Refer to your notebook. Oh, have I forgotten to mention the notebook? Exactly why you need a notebook. When you are inspired, frolicking about town or in some dodgy area your mom sent you to buy cheap eggs (yeah this happened to me and I feared for my life), random heart-felt ideas will pop into your head. Write everything down: information, weird smells, awesome places, things you really want to tell the world if you could – before you forget.
- Because sitting and writing can become quite statuesque, which in my case calls for eating without thinking, make sure to stock up on healthy brain food. This will include proteins (tuna and fatty fish, nuts, and seeds), leafy greens (spinach), blueberries (yummers) and phew! dark chocolate too. Hydrate that thinker of yours with water around the clock and if you tire of aqua, indulge in a cup of green tea to retain focus.
- If you’re struggling with freelance writing and concentration it means your brain needs oxygen. Do a little exercise (maybe few sit-ups to make sure the above-mentioned chocolate doesn’t get stuck in the middle?) Take frequent breaks, walk your puppy or eat your lunch while doing the Garden Route (when you eat outside). Working as a freelancer gives you the freedom and luxury of planning your activities around your schedule.
- As a freelancer, you’ll be in dire need of secure and reliable internet connectivity: especially if your client has a strict deadline. Fast internet connection will ease the whole process from researching frantically to sending your magnificent piece to the client.
- Face it, some people just don’t get the lifestyle of The Creative Ones. This means that friends and family will probably think you’re lounging around in your pj’s all day long and writing an epic romance that will never get published. Freelance writing takes self-discipline and hard work, therefore be sure to allocate specific times for writing during which nothing should distract or demand your attention other than the job at hand. You’ve defeated the cubicle and office UV-lights, don’t let your naggy family or friend (who constantly needs her Jiminy Cricket) box you in and keep you from achieving your goals. If you set clearly defined boundaries you will have no choice but to succeed.