How to Make Progress When You’re Busy, Sick, or in Transition

Cindy Cyr here, back in the driver’s seat of The Writer’s Life this week.

This month marks my four-year anniversary of full-time status as a writer …

So, I thought I’d reflect back to before I was living the writer’s life … spending between one and a half to two hours each day commuting, juggling family activities, a full-time job, and taking care of a home while transitioning to a new career as a freelancer.

I can tell you from experience, it’s not always easy … but it is totally worth it!

Each day this week, I’ll give you ONE quick but significant thing you can do, improve, or change that will move you towards the writer’s life.

You’ll discover the ONE BIGGEST thing you need to do that guarantees you’ll reach your goal of living the writer’s life … how to build momentum … how to make sure you create a profitable business …

And, of course, there will be client-getting tips, too.

I’ll kick things off by showing you how to make progress when faced with challenging circumstances.

This is perfect for anyone who is:

  • Trying to transition from full-time career to full-time freelancer while juggling a dozen balls and trying to keep them all in the air
  • Already freelancing, but so busy with clients you’re struggling to grow your business
  • Experiencing health problems that slow you down
  • Dealing with family or home concerns that get in the way

For example, not too long ago, I had an issue on the home front with the renovation of our master bathroom.

It’s one of the last rooms in our house to get attention since we started fixing up the house we bought in foreclosure a few years ago. It was a project I originally started to tackle.

But to be honest, the task was overwhelming. I was paralyzed and made no forward progress.

So, my husband took charge and began doing one thing each week.

And for several weeks now, my husband has been surprising me each week by adding something new to our master bathroom …

One week, it was adding one of those “rain” showerheads, the next it was a new bath ensemble set.

The small changes made a noticeable difference. In fact, all the little changes together have shaped it up enough that I have a vision of what the completed room will look like.

Just like the small changes to my bathroom, you can do small things in your career that add up to a big difference, too.

Often we think we need big chunks of time to work on our business. But the truth is, if you just work a little each day, it’ll add up to big results.

It can be overwhelming to think about trying to read, write, learn, and contact clients each day when you are just struggling to make it through the day!

However, to make this strategy work, just commit to doing one thing each dayno matter how small.

Some examples of “one thing” might be to:

  • Read one chapter in a book or program that relates to your writer’s life goal, writing down one thing you learn that you will apply to your business or writing.
  • Make contact with one potential new client.
  • Write fifty headlines for a spec assignment.
  • Do one exercise from one of your programs. For example, if you’re working on Copywriting 2.0, you could do Nick’s “clarity” headline exercise in section one.
  • Use a free research tool from the library such as InfoUSA to find and make a list of 10-30 potential clients. (One search in your niche can take as little as three minutes and produce dozens to hundreds of leads depending how narrow your search is.)

If you’re experiencing health problems or going through some personal or family issue and finding it difficult to get ahead, this strategy can really help you make progress. And, you’ll feel like you’re accomplishing something, which is a great confidence-booster.

To make real forward progress, you have to organize that one thing you do. It’s important to rotate “learning and knowledge-gathering activities” with “taking action activities” each day. For example, if you read to improve your writing skills one day, then apply what you learned in a writing project the next day, and send an email to a potential client the day after that.

American Activist Marian Wright Edelman said, “We must not … ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”

Don’t let a day go by without doing at least one small thing to move yourself closer to your goals. It may not seem like a lot at the time. But before you know it, you’ll look up and see you have a growing business in the works and are making progress towards the writer’s life you dream of.

If you’re struggling with making forward progress, my suggestion would be to check out Nick Usborne’s Copywriting 2.0:Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts. Among my top three all-time favorite programs, this program made it easy for me to confidently sell my services because Nick explains things so clearly and completely. Just focus on landing clients, then turn to the section that covers whatever project you’ve landed and follow Nick’s step-by-step explanation.

What one thing will you do today to move yourself further down the path towards the writer’s life? Share it with me by commenting below.

The Digital Copywriter's Handbook

The Digital Copywriter's Handbook

Learn how to become an in-demand online copywriter for companies big and small. Online copywriting expert Nick Usborne shows you how to write web copy that converts. Learn More »

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Published: November 14, 2011

8 Responses to “How to Make Progress When You’re Busy, Sick, or in Transition”

  1. Not web copywriter, in Accelerated Copywriting Course...and can't get fuel go past restaurant letter. My creativity is drained, it seems. So, avid reader I am...Bought book deepen my appreciation for what I'm doing...Direct Marketing Success, 1997 Denny Hatch and Don Jackson.Also, I'm on Facebook, and every chance get,mention AWAI's courses.Now my son got great job, have house to myself, turn on all lights, play music loud, do whatever. My creativity might've been curtailed, had to keep quiet. Also, still missing my husband David, after 48 yrs marriage, March 12, 2010. Being an artist, I might start cartooning again, and post on Facebook with pastel portraits. I'm an SGI Buddhist member, and have great support...Culture and Peace, that's SGI.

    Guest (wordsmith35)

  2. Cindy, In response to your newsletter I could say that reading it was my one thing. However, yours was one of several that I read today. I am going to start my query letter for my children's book that I have written. In addition, I am going to email the rough draft to my sister to proof read for me.
    Thanks for the motivation.

    Guest (stlsunshine)

  3. this is quite a phenomenal article Cindy,I'd now commit to read a chapter/day of helpful books i bought, and read a few pages/day of my accelerated program. A bit a day. I feel like doing this because the thought of all i have to do has been so overwhelming that i end up not acting. But I think I can do this. Thanks.


  4. Hi Cindy,

    Great article. On top of reading all the helpful articles that are posted on AWAI's site I have committed to joining Circle of Success as the catalyst that moves me forward into the writer's life. I'm entering a very exciting time in my life. One that will be busy but also one that culminates in the ultimate freedom that the writer's life can provide.

    Thanks for the great articles.


    Mark Harrington

  5. I will do Day 1 of developing my website in four days.


  6. Cindy: Great advise! I have tried to do this and some days even doing just one thing seems impossible and not worth it. Putting it into perspective of doing one thing every day over time will get you where you want to be definitely helps with the importance and urgency of doing just that one thing.

    And, you had great ideas of things to do!



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