I have decided to take a new approach to my writing, my work life and my attitude to getting things done. If I want to make writing my living (and I really believe that I do), this has to become my priority. My writing has to be the most important thing in my day, the thing I do even if I achieve nothing else work related that day.
Spending some time the other day reading through some of the links I had saved about freelancing and writing made me realise a few things about myself and how I approach my working day. I confess that I am a list addict, I like to have lots of things on my ‘to-do’ list…mostly so I can tick them off and feel that little frisson of achievement each time I do. However I have a tendency to get to the end of the day or week and feel that I haven’t really achieved anything significant. The things I tick off are the easily dealt with rather than what would actually move me forward or allow me to develop myself/my work better. I confuse activity with achievement.
I read about the ‘eat that frog’ approach of starting your day by tackling the biggest, most difficult, most important task first thing in the day. This means achieving the big task of the day before your willpower, attention or energy is used up by all those other seemingly ‘urgent’ tasks. Getting that sense of achievement first thing in the day and using that to fuel the rest of the day free of that feeling of ‘oh I really must do that task’ (and invariably moving it to another day) struck a chord with me so new approach part 1 is – do the most important task first thing in the working day.
This leads me very nicely on thank you to the next thing I realised. If freelance writing is going to work for me, I need to write and I need to make it the big thing in my day, my most important task. Okay so I was already trying to write everyday but being brutally honest I wasn’t managing to do anything on at least half the days in a week and on some days when I said ‘yep I have written today’, what I had actually done was insert photos or played around with formatting blog posts. This is not writing!
Writing needs to become something I do every day, a habit in my life (disclaimer – at the same time though I need to accept that occasionally it simply won’t happen and not to beat myself up over my ‘failure’, I need a goal not another source of anxiety). Only by making writing part of me will it become something I get quicker, better and more confident at. So new approach part 2 is – to write 500 words a day (somehow seems more ‘right’ than the 1 hour of writing I was trying to do).
This explains why I was to be found the very next day after reading those links, early in the morning on my sofa, still undressed, taping away and getting words down on ‘paper’. I had woken up thinking ‘oh maybe I will start this tomorrow…or even next week’ and then I thought no, this needs to start now – I need to start eating that frog, stop making excuses and stop putting things off. And so I wrote.
One other thing I read was that by telling people what you want to do or what you want to achieve, this is how you make things happen. So I made that very first early morning rambling about my new approach into a blog post…I hope you enjoyed it.