Pursuing freelance writing as a "side hustle" or in your "spare time" can be extremely rewarding, both financially and creatively. You might decide to generate revenue through your own blog, contribute posts to customer sites on a contract basis, or ghost write for a variety of web channels.
Regardless of the reason you blog, finding time to blog part-time can be a challenge. When you have the time, gathering the motivation and imagination it takes to create compelling material might be an obstacle too.
If you are a part-time or freelance blogger looking to block off time and energy to write quality content, here are some proven strategies for your consideration.
Make Writing Less like Work
If you put in a long day at the office and then have to tackle a blog assignment, which piles on even more stress to your rattled nerves, the idea of blogging will lose its lustre. Pursuing blog topics which you are passionate about, and aren't more of the same material you work with in your full time gig will help to keep your blogging time worth scheduling.
It makes sense to synchronize your blogging goals with your professional goals, but make sure you find opportunities to blog about subject matters separate from your work life. It's like how the old saying goes, "All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy". If you can blog on topics which are a departure from the day-to-day, it will seem more like an escape than a grind next time you're writing.
Put it On Your Calendar
If you are someone who runs their business day by their digital calendar, you should do the same for your blogging. Block off the time to write and add the blog topic to your calendar. It's a great way to prepare yourself. You can assign yourself deadlines, drafts and editing for when your availability and energy level allows.
Just like at work, if your friends and family are aware of your blogging time commitments, they will set their expectations of when you'll be "heads down" with writing. Just be sure to schedule some time for your loved ones too. It will raise your spirits, and you won't feel as guilty when you need to go into blogging lockdown. Set your career and life priorities in context with your writing priorities, and determine a realistic amount of time and content you can commit to.
Accountability and Reward
Do you have any friends or colleagues who are part-time or full-time bloggers? If so, ask them if you can establish an "accountability partnership" to support each other through meeting certain deadlines or goals. If you find you are writing in a "vacuum" where nobody realizes how hard you are working, seek out communities of creatives.
There are many online or local clubs or networks available to help writers to be more effective in their craft. Some examples include:
- The Write Life
- LinkedIn Groups
Once you build a support network, or connect with an accountability partner to keep you on track, reward yourself when you are consistently hitting deadlines and generating quality content.
Distractions vary from writer to writer. Some writers need complete silence. Others are more productive when there's music and conversations going on around them or any other noise. Be true to yourself about how much sound you can handle. Beyond sound alone, other distractions which can derail your writing output include:
- Poor lighting or insufficient space
- Cluttered workspaces
- Needs of kids, pets or spouses/partners
- Social media and Internet "noise"
- Hunger or thirst
Addressing all of these distractions, either by setting up your work environment properly, or waiting for kids to be in bed for example, you will find you are able to be more productive. A cup of tea and some cheese and crackers can go a long way to keep on task!
Break Blogging Tasks into Manageable Chunks
Once you have determined the best times to work on your part-time blogging career, consider tackling specific tasks or topics based on your energy level and availability. You can do background research or editing when you have brief windows of time over lunch at the office, and dedicate yourself to writing quality blog content during the weekend.
Don't pressure yourself to completing a blog project from end to end in one sitting. If you do the preparation work in advance, you'll set yourself up for success. Your completed research will provide you with a clear head and an educated premise for your blog's point of view.
Use the Tools of the Trade
Heaping on the pressure of trying to think of a blog topic to get started can be very time consuming. So can editing your piece for grammar, sentence structure and the target audience after it's written. Finally, publishing your piece when it will deliver the most impact is a lot to handle for a part time blogger. Automate these tasks, or streamline them with tools like:
- AtomicWriter plug-ins for WordPress and Google Chrome
- The native scheduling tools in WordPress, SquareSpace, or Blogger.com
Time is one of our most precious, non-renewable resources in life. If you are a part-time blogger for fun or profit, you want to make the most of every minute you have. Make sure you take advantage of the tools, support resources and strategies listed here, to increase your effectiveness as a writer, and to sustain your love of blogging, and to create the best possible content which will keep your readers coming back for more.
Author Bio: Mark Burdon is a technology professional based in Barrie, Ontario. He has worked in sales and marketing for companies including IBM, Open Text and most recently The Portal Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM .Mark has provided B2B content marketing services to companies including Intuit, HireVue, and gShift . He is a freelance writer with Cloudworker Solutions. Follow him on Twitter: @mark_burdon