“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Good habits. Many of us overlook how integral they are to our overall success. Good habits are instilled in us as kids: make your bed; be kind to others; work hard.
But, when we reach adulthood, we often abandon them in some form of rebellion and liberation from our parents. As for me, I’m glad I allowed good habits to stick with me…like holiday weight gain! They have given me a solid foundation for becoming a freelance writer, building relationships, and going the distance. Not everyone can say the same.
For example, in over 20 years, I’ve never missed a deadline. I’ve never flaked out on an editor, or not delivered what I have promised.
The other day, I was sharing a referral gig with some writing pals. A good opportunity most would agree. But, some of my writing peers couldn’t quite meet the required monthly quota for acceptance. Here’s the deal. The writing industry will change. Trends come and go. Editors leave. But, good, solid work habits will always be relevant and required. And, they are transferable.
Here are a few habits you’ll want to acquire and/or keep:
We are each afforded 24 hours in every day. So, in many ways, we start off on a level playing field. Yet, no two people are exactly alike in terms of how they spend their time, or what they accomplish. Savvy writers who subscribe to the theory that “time is money” invariably achieve more. For example, in the last two weeks, I have penned 16 articles – 14 long-form pieces consisting of one thousand words or more each. I also wrote two with about 800 words each. This was in addition to managing a home, other clients’ projects, and other responsibilities.
Here are a few ways I accomplished this, and managed to make the most of my time You can do this, too.
1. Wake up early.
2. Don’t waste a lot of time on social media.
3. Time track activities when it’s important.
4. Work ahead of any deadlines while keeping “Murphy’s Law” in mind.
5. Try not to procrastinate. It will ultimately lead to stress.
6. Don’t assume that you’ll have time later to do things. Each day is a gift.
Did you know that keeping a place that is messy can cost you time and money? According to the professional organizing website Smead.com: “Disorganization is an insidious drain on your wallet. The money leak happens in little dribbles but, over time, it becomes a flood that sweeps you away. You can’t find your electric bill to pay it until a week after the due date – 18% finance charge. You throw your mail in a pile unopened on the desk and a conference registration deadline passes you by – $50 late fee…” There are other examples at the link above, too.
With this in mind, it’s a good idea to keep your home and work area organized. If the task seems overwhelming, tackle one room at a time. But, start somewhere. I’m a firm believer in the adage: “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
DILIGENCE & DISCIPLINE
These two traits go hand in hand. And, both are required to stay in the black in the publishing industry. Contrary to popular opinion, there are very few “overnight successes.” For optimal results, work hard, and stay focused. Set high goals and then pursue them.
Remember that good habits are just as easy to cultivate as bad ones. The four mentioned above are fundamental to a winning writing career, and long-term profitability. Aristotle said it best: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
- How I Beat the Blogging Odds and Built a More Successful Business – By Jennifer Brown Banks
- Excerpted from: The Organized Writer: 30 Days to More Time, More Money, and Less Frustration By Julie Hood
- Discipline: The Key to Success by Angela Dion
- Don’t Waste Your Time on Pipe Dreams! Do REAL Writing Work for REAL Money! By Angela Hoy
- Having a Hard Time Writing Right Now? How to Overcome Creative Paralysis – by Jennifer Brown Banks