Improving your writing can be difficult when you are constantly writing about the same things, day after day. You know you need to mix things up, but that’s often easier said than done.
While I have suggested in the past that we all need to break out of our daily writing ruts and mix it up once in a while, actually finding the motivation to do that can be challenging. If, like me, simply desiring to improve might not be enough, you have to find a way to be compelled into action.
What got me going was taking on freelance writing projects.
Find rewards or threats that make you follow through.
What I found worked for me was being forced out of my comfort zone. I had to write on topics I knew little about, and they included legal and financial consequences that I needed to deal with. I didn’t have a gun to my head, but I did have the next most persuasive thing–a legally binding contract and a mortgage to pay.
Freelancing paid my bills and also got me writing on subjects I would never have tackled otherwise. My clients have ranged from soft drinks manufacturers, magazines, purveyors of fine fragrances, all the way through to my most recent client, a software developer with a PDF to Excel Conversion product.
Each project you take on will have unique criteria and circumstances, and require you to write on strange topics, in unusual styles, and often with an unfamiliar voice. It’s like a forced apprenticeship in copywriting, but you’ll need a solid foundation to avoid letting your clients down.
It doesn’t have to be a financial arrangement.
Don’t worry, while the cash incentive is nice, if you can’t find paying work, build a portfolio with free work first. Think about these options:
- Write articles and submit them to local magazines on spec.
- Consider volunteering your services to businesses, or charities that you particularly like.
- Ask friends to see who needs writing done; most people don’t enjoy it, so they’ll be happy for you to step in.
When you promise a person something, the thought of letting that person down is often enough to motivate you to get some content written. The important part is you break out of the norm and flex your writing muscles in new ways.
How do you motivate yourself to write outside of your comfort zone? Let us know in the comments.
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