Sunday, September 6, 2009

Recognizing A Writing Rut

When you're moving along, taking freelance writing projects that are allocated to you or are part of a series of repeat projects with the same client that deal with exactly the same information every time, it is easy to slip into writing rut. I, myself, have recognized my current writing situation for what it is: a writing rut. The question is what do you do once you recognize the rut. What's the next step?

Assess Your Situation

You'll probably want to take a step back. Sure, you may have to keep plugging away at those articles or other materials while you assess, but if you want to escape the rut, you'll have to take a spare moment to evaluate your freelance writing options. That's the big issue really with the rut. In a sense, you've lost touch with all of your other options. Most of the time, a rut is not a something you pursued. It is wrapped up in a form of security. As any freelance writer knows, job security can be a tricky thing. After months of struggling to find work, you may welcome the regular work of repeat clients.

When it comes to writing in the same niche or on the the same topic, month after month, there is a distinction - at least in my mind. What sort of writer are you? Do you describe yourself as a generalists, willing do anything you're assigned or offered? Or, are you a specialist, one who has a found a niche that they are comfortable writing in? What do these questions have to do with the writing rut.

For me, being a freelance writer, has been a seat-of-the pants sort of endeavor. I've definitely described myself as a generalist in the past. For the last several months, that has changed. I was conscious of the shift towards financial writing, at least on some level. But, it was a change totally motivated by comfort and economic necessity. Finance writing was (and is) what I've been offered on an ongoing basis for the better part of year now - a full third of my freelance writing career.

Does this necessarily mean I've entered a rut? That question is entirely dependent upon what sort of larger goals I had for my freelance writing career. The same is true for any writer. It's probably true for you too.

Goals: A Path Beyond The Writing Rut

I think there are some writers who believe good goals are prerequisite to embarking on a viable freelance writing career. Yet, I don't know if this necessarily true of my own freelance writing career. Like I said earlier, I've been moving about by the seat of my pants lately. I've not made the sort of moves that would give my writing a direction, a shape, and a purpose. If anyone wants to make it in the freelance writing business, they have to have a vision. This isn't big news; believe. I've read books by entrepreneurs and business owners. Those who are successful take the time to shape a vision for what it is they want to do.

Freelance writers in all areas of writing both in print and on the web - meaning the ones that make a decent salary - have one thing in common. They know what they want to do with their writing careers. In fact, it is the idea of setting goals and deciding what you want to do long-term that will help you avoid the writing rut.

Without a vision, you're stumbling around in the dark. Being a writer can be a grand thing, especially if you are working on something meaningful or a piece that you truly enjoy. If you want to get there, though, you will do so by following the plans and achieve the goals you've set.

I wish you all the luck. Thanks for reading.

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