Writing is one of the toughest "hobbies" out there. For whatever reason, even if you love doing it, sometimes it is nearly impossible to get started for the day, especially for those of us with extremely busy lives, careers, family, friends, and other interests and activities. For me, writing is something I am constantly thinking about. I'm thinking about what my next article should be about. I'm thinking about potential book ideas, characters, settings, plot, themes...yet sometimes I forget that just because I think of something, doesn't mean that it gets down on paper.
After I joined HubPages and started learning about how to make money from my writing by making posts on HubPages and creating blogs, I spent even more time thinking about writing. I started thinking about what I had to offer that other people would be interested in reading. Thoughts of novels and stories in far off places dwindled and were replaced by search engine optimization, trends on Twitter, and keywords. With each new Hub that I wrote, I saw the direct impact of my research and knowledge of online writing reflected in the bottom line of my monthly earnings on HubPages (that I check waaaaaay too often).
Getting into the Habit
As much as I think about what I want to write about, over the last six months or so I've noticed that it has become increasingly difficult to find time to write. At the moment, I work two jobs that take up a ton of my time. I have a wonderful (and understanding) girlfriend that also works two jobs, so when we both have time off together we do our best to take advantage of it and spend as much time together as possible. I'm also involved in a professional organization, enjoy going to sporting events, and try to have some semblance of a social life with a great group of friends. Now that I look at that list, I'm surprised that I ever have time to sit down at the computer and write.
In the last week, I've decided to commit myself to a writing schedule. On weekdays, I need to leave the house at about 8:00am to make it to work on time. Normally, I'd sleep until the very last possible minute, jump out of bed, and b-line for the shower and be on the road in a few minutes. Instead, I decided to bust out the coffee pot and get my lazy butt out of bed around 6:00am. This gives me a few minutes to get around, get some breakfast and a cup of coffee, and then gives me around an hour of writing time five days a week. In my first week of getting on this schedule, I've written and published two Hubs and am in the process of writing this one. I've also done some editing and research for other Hubs and also spent time creating a new blog that I want to start up in the next month or so. Total, I've written about 1,500 words this week. It's not a lot, but it's a lot more that I got done the first three weeks of the month.
One of the major lessons that I've learned in my online writing "career" has been that setting goals and sticking to them is extremely important. Not only does having a goal give you something to work towards, it sets you up to have a sense of accomplishment when you actually complete a goal. Writing is an investment in time. Normally, a writer doesn't see returns on his/her investment for weeks or even months after the product is completed. Writing HubPages articles is no different as they take time to mature and rank up in Google's search engine results. Some examples of goals that I will set for myself are:
- Publish 3 Hubs this week
- Publish 10 Hubs this month
- Spend one morning this week editing published hubs
- Spend one morning this week promoting hubs and creating backlinks
You notice that none of these goals say "Make $5 a day on HubPages" or "Make $150 this month." The money comes after the work that you put in. If I want to increase my daily average of revenue from HubPages, I need to publish more Hubs, edit my current articles and improve them with better SEO, and promote my articles on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. If I stick to the writing process and continue to push out quality content, the money will take care of itself.
This is a Business
Writing online is a legitimate way of creating an additional income. I call it my "third job" and if I stick to my writing schedule, I will be spending at least 5 hours a week in front of the computer writing and blogging. Sometimes I would rather just stay in bed and get that extra hour and a half of sleep, but it's worth it at the end of the month to see the payments coming in to my PayPal account and then into my bank account. I do not have the lofty aspirations of ever quitting my day job to write full time, but eventually I would like to be able to call myself a "writer" and have a substantial claim to the term. Right now, it's all about staying on schedule.
Ramona Jar from New York on April 26, 2013:
Excellent points. With a good posting plan you can get to have a decent number of hubs that get properly promoted/edited too.
Willette from Michigan on August 29, 2012:
Thanks for the hub. I tend to think about what I want but never set any goal and write it down to attain. I too struggle with time to write. I will try setting a schedule to follow that hopefully will lead to more writing. Like you, I lay in the bed to the last possible minute then get up and get out as quickly as possible to get to work. I will see what schedule setting will do to improve my chances of becoming a professional writer as that is a goal for me. I unlike you, would like to be able to write full time. thanks again and keep on hubbing!!
UrsulaRose on May 24, 2012:
I can so relate to this Hub Article ... goal-setting is definitely the key to overall success no matter how big or small the achievement.
Crazzykylex from Incredible India! on May 06, 2012:
Good to know that unlike others, you are a believer of "Early to wake and Early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise"
mariexotoni on May 02, 2012:
wow, talk about devotion.
supermom_in_ny from NY on May 02, 2012:
Excellent point. You must make goals so you have a path that leads to a destination. Voted up!
kjrzeek1 from New Jersey, USA on May 02, 2012:
I am a husband and father of 2 young children, with a full time job, and I too am having a hard time finding time to write. I try and write at night after the kids go to bed, but then my wife says I don't spend enough time with her. Setting some type of schedule will help me out. Thanks for the ideas!
PBody5205 (author) on May 01, 2012:
The incentive is the fact that once you start getting this online writing thing right, you create a passive income for yourself. That means that you don't have to do a single thing for the money to keep rolling in. If I didn't post another Hub, create another backlink, or make another blog post, I'd earn roughly another $800+ this year just based on the traffic that gets to my Hubs every day. If I continue to write and work hard, that number has the potential to go as high as I want it to.
csmart on May 01, 2012:
Thank you for the suggestions. I also struggle to find the time but I also struggle with will power. I know that I have to keep writing to earn money on this site but it feels like there is little incentive to do so.
harinarayan from Kerala, India on May 01, 2012:
Thanx for the suggestions. I also struggle for getting time.