There are plenty of writing blogs that advocate “best practices” or things that seem to be best practices…and enough of those things are similar enough that a newcomer might get the mistaken impression that the writing game has a set of rules or ways to “do it right” that, when used like a magic formula, equal success.
But the fantastic truth of the matter is, there’s no one right way to do this–freelancing is about what works for YOU. No formulas aside from a few professional courtesies and common-sense activities like spell-check and final draft revisions.
That said, here’s a list of things in no particular order, that I do on a regular basis that seem to work for me:
–I like to stay up late. Past midnight. I try not to work myself into the ground, but around 11PM, after Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, I do some shameless self promotion.
–I like to get up early. 7AM, 8AM at the absolute latest. This would seem to run contrary to the first thing I like to do, but hey—it works for me.
–I like to exercise and work out. I find myself doing this about every hour or so for about ten or 15 minutes. Later I get a half an hour walk in a couple of times per day when the weather doesn’t suck.
–I have to have a room with a door to retreat behind. I usually like to work around the house–every room except the bathroom, really, but eventually the home office beckons. That’s the place where I feel most like I’m actually getting things done.
–On days I don’t feel very productive, I find I’ve at least written three or four blog entries, done some PR and threw a line out for a new gig or two.
–Outside of NPR, I find talk radio to be dull. But I do like to tune into Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to see what the people I violently disagree with are thinking lately. It’s never a bad thing to be literate about things you don’t agree with. I call it a coffee break for my brain.
–I hate to work on Saturdays. When I do, I save something that is more agreeable so it doesn’t feel so much like a slogfest.
–I have no brain in the mornings until I’ve had some caffeine. Sometimes I purposely delay the first cup and work on some dreadful project I’ve been putting off–the caffeine juice is the carrot I dangle in front of my own face. Sick, isn’t it?
–I quit worrying about deadlines. It doesn’t anybody any good, and I feel a whole lot better. If circumstances gang up on me, there’s usually an out–but you have to communicate with your editor before things get to that stage. Between the good communication and the no-worry policy, life is more agreeable.
–I name my blog .jpgs to complement my blog posts. Google seems to like that.