Anna Goldsmith has some fine tips at Copyblogger for a successful freelance writing career, but they apply to any stay-at-home web worker, especially bloggers.
- Create a division between work and home.
- Take off your pajamas.
- Get to work on time.
- Don’t watch TV in the middle of the day.
- Go out to lunch.
In reading this, I realized that I violate all these rules often. My desk is in my bedroom, I sometimes wake up and blog in my “pajamas” (looks like a sarong), I get up anywhere between 8 am and 11 am (but usually before 9), I never go out to lunch, and I often watch TV all day and all night.
I know that when I “dress for work”, I’m always more productive. But I have to watch TV because I get a huge source of my “pop culture” knowledge from doing so. And watch a lot of classic movies on TCM and AMC as part of my film studies. It’s a necessity, but I do try to spend at least 3-5 hours straight without the TV on.
As for work time, I’ve always had a sleeping disorder and have lost/quit more jobs because of it than I care to remember. But to me, working at home now, it doesn’t matter, because quality creative output cannot run on a clock. While you can pick a fixed writing schedule and just write whatever you want to, to fill daily word count quotas, it’s not as easy to control what time of day your “useful” content is produced. Though I do find that if I write at least 500 words of non-fiction or 1000 words of fiction before 11 am, I usually have a really good day, even if I take off for several hours in the afternoon or evening. I can usually bank on this “rule” of productivity.
Of course, if you’re blocked and just not generating ideas, you should change your writing perspective. In fact, that’s often a good time to go have lunch to socialize. Otherwise you run the risk of unwittingly becoming a hermit like I did for nearly a year. I’m doing something about that now, but it’s amazing how easy it is to fall into it.
Do you work at home full-time? How many of Anna Goldsmith’s tips do you follow? How do you divide up your work day?