|You could be off at 4! (public domain photo)|
What? First I tell you to take weekends off. Now, I'm telling you to only work 8 hours a day. Am I crazy? Not at all. I am a firm believer in not spending your entire life tucked away behind a keyboard. Yes, you will have to work very hard. Yes, you will work a full 6-8 hour day. However, you do not have to be pounding out articles and networking 24/7 to make a living as an online writer.
I bet you're still thinking about that 6 hour day.
Of course you are. When I first started doing this, I did it the hard way. Most of the writers that I know still do. Every day I wrote and networked until my fingers cramped up so bad that I had to stop. I really thought I had to work long hours to make up for my lack of experience. You know how they say you have to write, write, write before you make a success of yourself? Well, it's simply not true. What you really have to do is learn to manage your time.
I work hard at writing for 6-8 hours a day.
I take weekends off. I don't waste a lot of time on Facebook and other social networks while I'm writing. I do that stuff on breaks or when I'm done if I want to. However, I mostly take offline, active breaks to keep my blood circulating. I do take a lunch break and not in front of the computer screen. So, don't let anyone tell you that you have to work 24/7 to make it as a writer. If you focus on your writing and related tasks, rather than silly computer games and funny memes, you can have a 6-8 hour work day and weekends off too.
Stop helping people while you're working.
Or at least stop actively helping them. When someone interrupts your work day to ask for help, tell them you're at work. If it's a writer friend, point them in the direction of an applicable instructional article by you or someone else who you know gives good advice. It's just way too easy to spend hours helping someone else with their writing. It feels good, doesn't it? You like helping people, right? So, why not help yourself instead by teaching them to help themselves? You'll both be better off. They won't have to depend on you so much. You can get your work done and get off early to enjoy your life.
Dividing up your 6-8 hour day.
Every writer does things differently. Some like to pound out the work in that 6-8 hours and be free the rest of the day. Some like to do 2 hour stretches, broken up by breaks or other responsibilities. Me, I usually do the 2 hours at a time thing. I take a half hour break in between each 2 hour writing session. I start writing at around 8 in the morning. This means that I'm done at 5:30 every day, even when I work 8 hours. On days when I can get the work done in 6 hours, I'm done at 3:00. It may sound impossible, I assure you, it's not.
How do you want to remember your life?
Many wise people have mentioned that upon reaching the end of their life, nobody looks back and regrets that they did not spend enough time working. No. You regret the time you did not spend with your loved ones or attaining your non-work related goals. You cherish the memories of the times when you did do those things. Life is for living, even when writing is your chosen career. Writing should be a part of your life, not the whole burrito.
(I know. It's supposed to be an enchilada but I'm vegan. I don't eat cheese.)