If you have always wanted to be a freelance writer, you are in luck. Thanks to the internet, this is the best time to make a living as a writer. There are more opportunities than ever before to submit your work online and to make money without any prior experience.
Unfortunately, most wannabe writers never submit their work online because they are not sure how to begin. In his book, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield warns that the only way to be a real writer is to develop a professional attitude toward writing.
Real writers are those who habitually complete the four steps of the writing process:
- They start new projects, which may be an article, essay short story or novel.
- They complete each project within a reasonable deadline.
- They revise each project, ridding it of all errors and making it as good as they can, again within a deadline.
- They submit the project to an editor, publisher, or agent.
Any writer stuck at any of these steps is suffering from writer’s block. Most freelance writers may find one or more of these steps especially difficult. Though all these four steps are important, the first step is the most crucial. Before you complete, revise, or submit anything, you have to start it.
If you find it difficult to get started, these five simple tips can be of immense help to you.
“Freewriting” involves writing a fixed number of pages or writing for a fixed period of time without stopping. Most successful writers and writing coaches use this basic technique in different ways to overcome writer’s block.
Julia Cameron calls it “three morning pages” and it is the heart of The Writer’s Way, her seminal course for writers and artists. Her advice is to write three pages every day first thing after waking up. On the other hand, Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones, says that the basic unit of “writing practice” is “timed practice”. Her advice is to commit yourself to write for ten minutes or longer and then to write continuously for that full period without stopping or revising.
2. Write Fast
Writing fast is the most crucial element of freewriting.
“Keep the hand moving,” advised Natalie. During freewriting, don’t revise or correct mistakes or cross out. The faster you write, the better the results. Writing fast is the best way to defeat the internal critic, who is the indefatigable and implacable enemy of all writers.
3. Write Immediately After You Wake Up
If you are one of those writers who can find the time to do everything except write—try waking up thirty minutes earlier and write three pages. Even if you are not a morning person, this is the best time of the day to write because you are least likely to be disturbed.
In addition, writing first thing in the morning is the most effective way to eliminate procrastination. If writing is truly important to you, do it first.
4. Mind map
Writing does not have to be linear from left to right and from top to bottom of the page. Mind mapping is a non-linear way of writing that has the potential to unleash your creativity.
To mind map, start with a key word or phrase at the center of the page and draw a circle around it. For example, you can write the working title of your article or story. Then write down the first word or phrase or image that occurs to you and circle it. As in freewriting, it is crucial to write each idea on the page as it occurs to you as quickly as possible without thinking or revising. At the end of a few minutes, the page with your central idea will be surrounded by many related but random thoughts. You can now start writing your article or story based on the ideas generated in your mind map.
Mind mapping is a versatile technique that you can use not only to generate ideas for articles but also to brainstorm for solutions whenever you are stuck in your writing.
Mind mapping is best done with paper and pen but you can download free mind mapping software (http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Download) and mind map on your computer.
5. Focus on the Journey, Not on the Destination
The underlying principle of both freewriting and mind mapping is to trust the process and your own creativity and write the first draft.
Every writer, however experienced and successful, has to constantly face and overcome self-doubt and the fear of failure and ridicule. The greatest obstacle to any creative endeavor is the harsh voice of the internal critic. The only way to overcome this hostile and implacable foe is to ignore it. “Accumulate pages, not judgment,” advises Julia Cameron.
Ultimately, you learn to write by writing. The first step is to write the first draft. Freewriting and mind mapping are invaluable tools to get you started. If you want to be a real writer, use freewriting and mind mapping to overcome your inertia, your fears, and your resistance. Write early; write fast; and write fearlessly.
About the Guest Author:
Guest post written by Roko Nastic who is a writer and editor at WebmasterFormat.com, website offering valuable info about blogging web design, search engine marketing and best web hosting services.