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8 Ways to maximize the joy of writing

John Soares
John Soares

Maximizing my happiness and enjoyment of life is my top priority, and that includes my academic freelance writing.

Like me, you probably spend a lot of time writing. Life is short — make sure you get the most joy out of your writing time by following these 8 tips.

1. Write About What Interests You

Specialize in an academic writing niche you love and you’ll find you look forward to your work. You’ll also likely find greater success: you’ll be more enthusiastic when pitching projects to editors or clients, and you’ll get a lot more done in a given time period.

Two of my great interests in life are hiking and learning. I started my career by writing hiking guidebooks about northern California and newspaper and magazine articles about hiking and travel in California and the western United States. Soon afterward I established my main niche as a writer of college textbook supplements; it allows me to continue to learn about a wide variety of subjects in the social, life, and earth sciences. Since I’m really interested in understanding more about the world, I truly enjoy my work.

2. Move From One Writing Project to Another

If you’re like me, you have multiple projects going at one time. You must pay attention to deadlines and make sure you meet or beat them, but within the structure of your project completion dates, you usually have some flexibility. If I find myself growing weary of one project, I switch to another on a different topic, or to one requiring different skills. This brings back my enthusiasm and my ability to get high-quality work done quickly.

3. Learn to Type Fast

When the words flow from your brain and onto the screen quickly and efficiently, you can focus specifically on what you are writing and not the physical process of writing itself. In other words, you won’t be multitasking — dividing your attention between two different activities and doing neither one at an optimal level.

4. Learn to Write Well

Knowing the components of good writing will increase your confidence in the quality of your work and will also allow you to write faster, and you’ll spend less time editing. If you aren’t comfortable with the rules of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style, you may stop frequently and question whether a sentence is constructed properly, or whether or not you used a semicolon correctly.

5. Budget Your Time Well

Writing when you feel you don’t have enough time to do a good job, or when you’re exhausted from staying up too late to meet a deadline, is a sure way to decrease the joy of writing.

6. Think About Why You Write

What goals do you achieve through writing? Why are these goals important to you? How do you feel when you achieve those goals? Make sure you have clear answers to these questions.

7. Vary Your Writing Location

You can do this in many ways. I frequently write on my laptop on the back deck of my house in rural northern California. I also like to write in coffee shops and libraries. In summer I go camping with my laptop (and DC-AC inverter that allows me to recharge the laptop battery using my car battery). And I also get to write in the beautiful homes where I house-sit.

8. Practice Present-Moment Awareness

Frequently associated with Buddhism, Taoism, and other religious traditions, present-moment awareness means staying focused on what you are doing this moment. Don’t think about anything that happened in the past. Don’t think about what you’ll be doing in the future. Just relax and give your single-minded attention to your writing.

Writing College Textbook SupplementsReprinted with permission from the blog Productive Writers, Work Less ~ Earn More ~ Live More. This blog is written by John Soares, a freelance writer for higher education companies for over 20 years. Soares is also author of the book Writing College Textbook Supplements and the accompanying blog.