They say the early bird catches the worm, but the only worm I ever seem to find is at the bottom of a bottle of tequila. When I’m on the road, I have a great ability to rise early, but as for the rest of the time – 8 a.m. is usually early enough.
One of the things I love the most about the writer’s life is the complete freedom it gives. There is always something new to do or discover, and because of that, it can be difficult to describe a “typical” day. But it’s also important to try to impose some form of routine – otherwise you end up never progressing.
Here are the key parts of my routine that have worked well for me.
**Social media/email time
Breakfast is my time to quickly look through social media and emails. One important email I always look at is the TravMedia “Daily Summary.” I’ll sometimes find useful public relations announcements, and also under “Latest Media Stories”, there can be publications that are new to me.
On days when I have articles to write, my goal is to write 1,000 words per day. Generally, I will write while trying to minimize distractions and breaks until I’m done. However, if I get writer’s block or decide I don’t like what I’m producing, I will either leave the article for later in the day or look at it again in a few days.
Once the writing part is out of the way, I spend time on tasks such as editing. These will be pieces that were written a day or two earlier, as it is always best to let an article sit as long as possible before editing. I read through the article, making changes, looking up words I may have used incorrectly, or searching for better words.
**Reading aloud and final preparation
The final stage of editing is reading it aloud. This is the easiest way to catch awkward sentences, punctuation problems, and overuse of certain words. After editing, I immediately send the article off to the editor, and, if needed, I then start putting together the pictures to accompany it. This will be done via sharing a folder on Dropbox or sending a file via Hightail.
**Finding new assignments
Most of my querying is done late afternoon or in the evening. On days when I’m not writing, I may transcribe interviews, which can be time-consuming but is often very important, depending on the type of article. Rather than writing and replying to email continually throughout the day, I try as much as possible to stick to blocks at the beginning and then blocks toward the end of the day.
While it is important to maintain some kind of work-like discipline, the beauty of being a freelance travel writer is that you can take a day or time off when you need it. The downside – and not everyone looks at this as a negative – is that you may find yourself working at all sorts of times of the day.
The key is to pay attention to what times of day you do your best writing, and make sure that your routine reflects that. Once you find what works for you, you can rinse, repeat, and start enjoying the travel writer’s flexible lifestyle.