Writing for life is hard. You have to break through the periods of inspirational dead ends while making ends meet financially and balancing your personal and professional obligations. Most recommendations provided by ‘supportive’ articles subconsciously try to sell you the idea of ‘working harder’.
However, short-term motivation can only get you so far and one day you find yourself sitting head in hand with zero willpower and binge eating issues. If your life is already full of stress, adding more control to it is not an option. Hence, we have identified the top five supporting skills that will make your writing easier to free your resources and have more creative freedom.
If you are marketing your services right, your schedule should look pretty busy right now. Balancing your increasing professional obligations with your personal life requires a certain set of skills called time management. It goes way beyond mere scheduling and self-motivation to rise early in the morning.
Instead, you need to take an in-depth study of yourself to understand how you can increase your productivity rather than the sheer amount of activities. For example, any person involved in writing must be aware of the optimal conditions boosting their productivity and avoiding poor writing habits.
Are you a morning person or a night owl? Can you write more when working alone in your room or do you need to sit at a coffeehouse or a library to concentrate better? Find these answers as soon as possible and schedule your writing sessions and obligations accordingly.
There isn’t much to discuss here. Touch typing is a must for any person using a computer professionally for any purpose from copywriting to code writing. A trained individual can easily save up to 21 days per year or 35 minutes per day by simply spending several weeks developing this crucial skill.
For professional writers, the most important bonus of learning to touch type is decreased mental fatigue. Your brain no longer needs to concentrate on two things at once. When inspiration strikes, you simply start writing and can easily record your thoughts at the same speed as they emerge. A good typing technique also prevents repetitive strain injury thus increasing your ‘writing longevity’.
Your submitted work must not contain any grammar, punctuation, or spelling mistakes and also has to comply with certain formatting or style requirements. While any good writer proofreads their drafts, this may not be sufficient for getting excellent results. Editing skills allow you to take a look at your texts from a different perspective and be more scrupulous in your writing. This also opens new ways to earn money as a professional editor making and diversifying your income sources. There are some excellent resources in this field available online if you want to acquire some basic skills in this area without substantial investments.
Communication and Marketing Skills
To organize a constant supply of new orders and build a career, you need to continuously develop your network of contacts. A good start is to visit professional conferences, moderate a writing community on social media, or organize a personal blog with recommendations to new writers. You may also want to complete several courses on marketing and communication to learn how to promote yourself.
Developing a professional resume and portfolio and offering your services to multiple journals and publishing houses is a must for securing a steady source of income in this turbulent industry. Ideally, you should be the person getting one of the first calls from major players in the market when new opportunities emerge.
Web Design and Coding
Let us face it, printed media is in decline and most texts are published online nowadays. From the customer standpoint, this means that they have to employ at least two persons, namely the writer and the web designer to prepare the materials for publication. The question is, why not learn both skills?
In addition to greater income, this ‘full cycle’ approach will also improve your understanding of ‘text design’ in terms of the structures, styles, and layouts that work best for online readers. Learning multiple skills in this area is also a first step towards starting your own company and transforming your freelance job into a full-time business. In the documentation sphere, being a Jack of All Trades can also be highly beneficial due to proprietary information and non-disclosure agreements that make the employment of a single person substantially more preferable.
Final Thoughts on Writing Skills
The main skill that defines success in any profession is consistency. Many writers view their careers as short sprints of activity such as sending resumes for one week, completing a single educational course, or applying for a particular dream job. This strategy is not very effective since you cannot climb a mountain if you simply jump at it once in a while and slide down afterward. Most physical skills require time to develop and allocating 15 minutes per day to touch typing will produce incredible results in the long-term perspective. The same is true for marketing, networking, and time management since progress in these spheres comes from regular practice rather than short activity bursts resulting in exhaustion and frustration.