How I Recharged my Mind to Improve my Writing

Content Marketing

My friends are often surprised when they see me out on weekends, or even find me cozying up with a mystery novel in a nook of a café on a Tuesday afternoon. “Where do you find all the time?” they complain as they switch between client calls and struggle to meet deadlines.

Work is important: it brings food to the table and makes life comfortable. But it is much more important to spend time with yourself and do things you love to live a quality life. Meet your friend over a coffee and have a heartfelt conversation, catch up on your reading, and cherish little moments with your loved ones. The rest can wait.

There was a time in my career when I worked 18 hours a day, spending hours on research, writing, proofreading, revising, rushing through assignments, and barely getting any rest. It was fine at the beginning because I took this as a fair trade-off for growing my client list, acquiring new skills, and making a little extra money.

But after a while, I began to notice a drop in my creativity. I was slow in my submissions; I felt lethargic and just couldn’t focus. I slept very little. I took on too much that I couldn’t keep up with. I struggled to write engaging slogans and copy for brands that I personally loved, and that’s when I knew I had overworked myself. 

I convinced my clients that I needed to take a break and refresh my mind; I finally took a badly needed vacation. I went to Wayanad in Kerala, India to attend a friend’s wedding. I don’t know if it was the cool air that came from the serene hills or coming into close contact with nature or just simply taking time off to laugh with friends and not think about work—whatever it was, it worked! I felt rejuvenated. 

After returning from one good week spent in the lush landscapes of Wayanad, I resumed my work and to my surprise, I wrote some of the best copies in my career. My clients were pleased with what I wrote, and I met all my deadlines, every single one of them. That’s when I had realized how important it was to just take a break, relax, and laugh, and live a little. A well-oiled machine runs well, not one that is overworked and neglected. 

Please note that staring blankly into space or chewing on a pen cap like you haven’t eaten a meal in days do not count as “taking a break”. Although it works for some, I believe a break should actually refresh you and re-energize you.

I now try not to overwhelm myself with too many projects and aim to take up work that interests me. I make to-do lists, avoid multitasking, and do my best to get more done in less time.

If you are anything like I was, I would suggest you follow these simple rules I have since adopted.

  1. Choose work that you most enjoy – There’ll always be projects that do not interest us in any way. When you stumble upon them, just say “no”. You will feel more fulfilled and productive when you actually do work that you love.
  2. Prioritize your assignments – Yes, every assignment has a tight deadline and we hurry to meet. But do not overwhelm yourself with a bulky to-do list. Pick 2-3 most important tasks for the day and focus solely on completing them. 
  3. Communicate with your client regularly – Make sure you ask your clients the right questions from the outset, clarifying any doubts to avoid having to make multiple revisions. When writing, always take your clients’ specifications on board because, in the end, their satisfaction will determine your future contracts and paycheck.
  4. Do not multitask – Never, ever multitask. Working on two or more assignments simultaneously is not advisable if you want your writing to be high-quality. You would think you’re being productive, but when your client points out all the errors and asks you to rework, you will be in a lot of pain. Trust me. I once multitasked three assignments and the results were pretty bad.  
  5. Relieve stress – Do whatever you can to relax and bust your stress and anxiety. I, for example, ask my husband to tell me a joke, knowing that he’s terrible at it. As expected, he tells such bad jokes that I actually end up laughing hard. It instantly clears my mind! But hey, do whatever works for you.

As freelance writers, we get so wrapped up in making every second count. But doing so only decreases creativity, lowers quality, and is not sustainable in the long run. Take good breaks in between projects, so you are refreshed to work on the next task. And when you do not have enough tasks on hand, I would suggest you read articles, brush your grammar, see what’s trending, pick up a skill, or simply read your favorite book.

How I Found My First Freelance Writing Client

Content Marketing

Gaining writing experience

My first full-time job after graduating was a writing position at Myntra. My job was to write one-line product descriptions for each clothing range, and that’s really all there was to it.

Day in and day out, I listed out the types of necklines and dress shapes, determined fabric and sleeve length, and categorised various types of heels.

I’d reached a point where every time I met someone new, I’d start to wonder how round his T-shirt neckline was or how distressed his jeans were or how much flare her dress had. I found myself constantly pondering, is she wearing a top or a blouse?

Becoming a freelancer

I left that job. I bid goodbye to everyone at the office and jumped up and clicked my kitten heels together (making a very soft noise) and walked out of the door.

But the problem was, I didn’t know where to go from there. I did not have a degree in fashion nor was I a fashionista obsessed with every style and microtrend. I briefly contemplated going into advertising, but I’d heard stories of endless agency hours and stressful work culture and decided against it.

I tried reaching out to people for career advice. Everyone I knew from college was now into product management, supply chain, or software business. No one knew how to guide me. I had a pretty niche CV. My experience was limited to product descriptions. If all I did was string a couple of attributes together, how could I call myself a fashion writer? I was confused about what path to take.

Getting my first freelance client

A couple of months passed by while I tried to figure out what I actually wanted to do, where my interests lie, and overall wondering what the future had in store for me.

One night, I sat down at my computer, not to work, but to sell a red and black striped bean bag that was occupying an already cramped room. I wrote an engaging copy describing my bean bag and how owning it could transform one’s life (though it had done nothing for me yet).

I opened OLX to post the ad, and that’s when an existing ad caught my eye.

“Freelance Fashion Description Writer Wanted”

Really? On OLX?

I immediately called the number listed in the ad. When the employer found out I worked with Myntra, the fashion eCommerce giant, I was hired.

Yup, I found my first client on OLX, an online marketplace where you buy and sell local goods.

Strange, isn’t it? Every time I tell the story to someone, they laugh. “OLX, how in the world did that happen?” they would say.

P.S. I sold my bean bag to a nice young woman who had just moved into the city in search of a job. I really hope things went well for her.

And from there, my journey as a freelance writer had begun.

Growing my client list

Work was demanding, with tight deadlines and very little money. I spent endless hours churning out hundreds of 3-liner product descriptions, which soon became 100-word descriptions. My client worked with several different vendors and assigned regular work to me. I remember one particular time I was given a job-lot of 200 products to describe; that turned into an all-nighter.

I was completely exhausted, but I found myself secretly liking what I was doing. Managed to never missed a deadline. And consistently produced quality content.

To my surprise, my first client brought in more business than I’d expected. He was active in the fashion market with a well-established network of contacts.

And so, the word got around. New clients started to approach me with work in other areas outside of fashion. I started writing articles related to education, IT, and healthcare.

When I had no projects on the go, I networked. I reached out to other writers and content agencies to check if they needed a helping hand. Some replied and some didn’t. But those who responded have stayed with me to this day and still reach out whenever they have assignments that demand quality writing.

It is strange how our lives can take a massive turn. A job that I did not expect to lead anywhere kickstarted my freelance career and passion for writing.

Today, I write content for many major brands in the market, from website copy to short stories. There is no easy way to success. No career can be built overnight, especially not a freelance career. Wherever you’re starting from, it takes a lot of determination and will-power to keep going when success feels far away. I’ve realised that hard work and commitment do eventually pay off.