Sometimes you just don’t feel like writing.
For the most part, you’ll need to overcome that if you are going to be a professional writer. After all, if a professional chef cooks most the day, it only makes sense that a professional writer would write most of the day. But, everyone has an off day. And, one of the benefits of being a freelance writer and working from home on your own business is that when that off day happens to you, you have options.
Now, we aren’t talking about writer’s block here. If you can’t think of anything good to write, or if the ideas just aren’t coming, you can’t quit. That only makes the block stronger. You need to write. Something. Anything. It really doesn’t matter. All the writing brain juice flows from the same place. Start writing, and writing will happen.
But, some days, it isn’t the ideas, and it isn’t the words, it is that writing at all just seems so not-happening. Now, if you are really cut out to be a writer, these days should be pretty rare. After all, a talented, motivated writer will usually have words dying to get out of his/her brain and onto the paper/computer screen. The rarity of these days also makes them harder to deal with. When you aren’t used to something, you usually don’t develop strategies for it.
Try Writing Something Else
Your first step is to make sure that it really is a no-writing day. The easiest way to do that is to write something else. Write something fun, something easy, something short, something to you want to write. If that works, then the problem isn’t your writing mojo, it’s that you don’t want to do what you are supposed to be doing. That’s a different thing. The answer then, is to suck it up, be a professional and do your job.
Now, assuming that you just don’t have writing in you today, and that you don’t have anything actually due to a paying customer (this is why you should always work ahead a bit), then you can take the day off.
There are two ways to take the day off. The first, and most well known, is to play a little hooky. Everyone does it sometimes, even in regular, in the office, types of jobs. Many of may friends call it a mental health day. They just call in sick. The ones with the really awesome jobs just tell their boss what is really going on. If you can, and you feel alright about it, play hooky. It’s good for you, if you don’t do it too often.
Now, as your own boss, it might be harder to play hooky than you think it would be. The problem, is that as boss, you know that your employee (that’s you) is bailing out on what should be work day. This is called responsibility, and it’s a good thing. Basically, if you and your boss (also you) feel good about this off day, then do it. If not, there is another way.
No matter what you write about, there are things you don’t know. There are special areas you would like to look into. There are new topics, new skills, or new places you want to explore. This is a legitimate way to expand your business. Ironically, you and your boss (still you) often won’t let yourself take the work time you need to pursue this kind of improvement. Now is the time.
Figure out a way to save up knowledge, lessons, or learning. I like something called Pocket, but I know others that swear by Evernote, or OneNote, or good old pen and paper. Whatever it is, you need access to it at all times. The reason is that these kinds of really great learning resources always seem to pop up when you are doing other things, so you need a place to record them. Then, you need a way to find and take advantage of them right away. That’s why I prefer the online ones, but if you carry a notebook with you everywhere then that can work too.
The important thing is to have the resources ready and waiting. Then, when you hit the wrong kind of day, or even the wrong kind of hour (this doesn’t necessarily always last very long), you are ready to fire up some form of learning, tutorial, episode, or training right away. If you have to spend time searching for it, you will end up wasting time, and worse, maybe not finding as good of resource as that one time when you were researching something else.
Either way, once you’ve decided that you aren’t writing, it’s time to start learning. This way you don’t have to feel guilty about wasting precious work hours, and you are improving your skills at the same time.