Four Excuses On Missing My Writing Goal
Six months into my freelancing journey and I’m slowly learning to understand the challenges of working on your own. While there are no bosses, no strict office hours and no dress code, working from home demands something in return for skipping all the corporate crap. It also means managing your own time and being responsible for your own productivity — that, I realized, is harder than working with a boss.
See, when you look to yourself for motivation, you don’t often find it. It’s easy to let yourself stray away from the pertinent goals of the day because you don’t feel like it. It won’t get you in any serious trouble — unlike when you worked in an office and you get a nice (or not so nice) pep talk from your boss.
Reading all articles about freelancing made me realize what I’m doing wrong, but I continue to do them anyway. This was fine until it’s the end of the month and I have little work accomplished and tons more I haven’t even started with. Just like the way a student crams the night before an exam, I find myself working late into the night to get that overdue task finally done and over with.
Today, I looked back and reflected on why I couldn’t quite hit my writing goals. There were a lot of reasons, but examining them closely made me realize they’re more of excuses. So I’ll list them all on this post and make a solution/workaround for it. That’s what this blog is, after all — to cheer myself on and share my journey towards freelance writing.
Excuse #1: I have other priorities at home that are more urgent.
Fix: When things require immediate attention, attend to them but delegate when needed.
I have child care help, but when it comes to my child, I want to be as hands-on as I can be. When I noticed that putting my little one to sleep takes longer than usual, I now turn him over to the helper so I can start the day’s work. Yes, my “working” day usually starts after lunch.
Excuse #2: Things aren’t working.
Fix: Make it work, no matter how much it costs, how long it takes, or how hard it is. I also learned that sometimes, you just have to settle for alternatives, even if it means it won’t work as good as you want it to.
One example would be when I was looking for several companies to provide internet connection in my new home. I was eyeing a reputable one that (according to most of my friends) had the best DSL service in the country. Unfortunately, their DSL speed doesn’t match their customer service, and after several unanswered email applications, I opted for a different company who was willing to come and install a modem the very next day. Not having the best internet connection is better than no internet at all. After all, freelance writing requires me to be online most of the time, so it’s essential to get anything done.
Excuse #3: I don’t feel like writing.
Fix: Two things: either write anyway, or do something else. Depending on the urgency of the work, choose which path to take.
This is a tough one. Sometimes the baby is asleep, you have all the time in the world and you face the computer screen, ready to write. Then — nothing. One thing I find effective so far, when hit with that inevitable wave of writer’s block (or laziness, I call it), is to just open a distraction-free writing software and start typing. Don’t stop until you have all your thoughts out. If all else fails, then it’s time to stop trying and try another time.
Excuse #4: I’m not good enough
Fix: Read past articles and see if you still feel the same way after.
This usually happens after given a bit of criticism from an editor or peer, or rude comments on a blog post. There are two things I get from reading my own articles: it reminds me why I write and why I continue to write, and it gives me fresh eyes to see what I can change or improve in my writing. Writing is a lonely job, and there isn’t anyone else to cheer you on except you. You’re also your toughest critic — which can only mean you’re sure to spot any past mistakes and remember to avoid them in the future.
There are probably lots more excuses that come up on a daily basis, but these are the most common ones that keep me from my writing goals. The trick How about you? Do you have excuses not to write? What solutions worked (or failed) for you?