Download PDF 52 Tips for Freelance Writers: A Guide to Simplifying and Organizing Your Freelance Writing Life

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Yes, social media can be a great way to connect with prospects. It is also one of the most addictive ways to waste time ever invented. Are you really getting prospects on Facebook and making useful new connections on Twitter — or just killing time following links and reading posts?

Be purposeful and strategic in how you use social media, and try to keep it to 20 minutes or a half-hour a day. Then stop.

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Use schedulers if you really feel your presence needs to be felt in a social-media channel all day long. This time, stand-up paddleboarding. It rocks! Each month, prioritize just one new action — learn to use a new tool, take one class, hit one new networking group, or try one new kind of marketing.

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See how those new skills and connections might help you earn more. How are you saving time in your freelance schedule? Leave a comment and share your tips. The beauty of being a freelancer is that you get to dictate your working relationships and hours. So as long as you learn how to prioritize you should be able to accomplish a lot during each day. Negativity might also be one of the reasons why we sometimes get stuck with our ideas. And yes, personally, exercise is the number one secret to greater productivity. Even Richard Branson, one of the most respected entrepreneur in the planet, thinks that exercise and getting fit improves focus and concentration.

Wonderful, wonderful tips — thank you! I feel like productivity is a constant struggle, especially since I am working a full-time job and writing on the side.

I am definitely going to implement some of these strategies in my day-to-day. I was going to skip commenting on this one because commenting can be a waste of valuable time as much as anything else. This eliminates the need for endless email clarifications or a Skype call. I have one regular who never emails me. I just get one email from the accounting department informing me when a payment has been made. I culled 10 just this week and it is saving me tons of time. On the other hand, the blog posts and comments are interesting and I like to join in on the discussion.

I so need this article. I have been very terrible lately as far as being unfocused. When I was an hourly employee, I got paid the same no matter how productive or unproductive I was. I am so glad I have the accountability of getting paid according to the results I produce instead of the hours I work.

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It is amazing how many bad habits I acquired while working for someone else… ex. Thank you so much for pointing out what should be obvious to us! I, like you, tend to think that I must read extensiely to educate myself and unfortunately, I end up spending less time actually doing.

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I was wondering how in the world I was going to get it all done, especially since writing very long blog posts for my first client seem to take up all my time! I always have that feeling in the back of my head that I need to study harder than anybody else to make up for my lack of a relevant degree.

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If I find one good idea, I can run with it and delete the 20 other newsletters I was planning to scan before I concluded what the best topics would be for that blog post. What a fantastic post. And I think so much of it is true not just for writers but for most professions though obviously on an hourly wage your flexibility is far more limited.

Thanks for an inspiring post. I definitely plan to implement that in my everyday work. Thanks for continuing to share your knowledge. Thank you for the post, Carol. It was very inspiring, especially the part about having time to think. I believe that for us beginning writers, we tend to get caught up in the idea of making money with our writing and try to grab every opportunity so that we lose sight of our vision or goal.

After reading your post, I have decided that I need to write a business plan that will guide my efforts.

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I have something in my head, but it needs to be on paper that I will follow. This is where the thinking comes in for me, just sitting down and deciding what I want to focus on instead of blinding following every opportunity. Writers need to be in charge of their careers, rather than being like a leaf floating downstream, grabbing whatever jobs come your way or are posted on free job sites. I think something important your post gets at is how much more valuable it is to judge our progress by how much we accomplish vs how much time we spend doing tasks that feel like work.

Right on!

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I could never get rewarded for being efficient as I had to warm that chair until 5 pm no matter what. We do need to focus on results in freelancing — am I earning what I want? Doing the marketing I should? Taking assignments that grow my skills? To me the challenge is you feel needed by clients, and that you need to be working your business…and we have to remember that our life and our families need us even more, and we need them.

I am starting this today. Never, never ends. Thank you for this post! This is great advice, Carol! And yes, if you have but a few hours to work versus an entire day, you do value your time more and become more efficient as a result.

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One of the great things about freelancing is you can keep your job stress-free if you just remain low-key about things. Prioritize, yes. Please do. I must admit I have this part-time work attitude all the time, but it really works.

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  • And all your suggestions are right on for various reasons. I find that if I get up and review emails I do get sucked into the social media trap and get little accomplished. However, if I get up and read a few things, then perhaps work on a project or write a blog I get things done faster and feel accomplished. I can clean house to get more exercise, but it results in a more relaxing environment in which I can work. I also find that when I review the work I need to do and step away, I think on it.

    The words flow freely and smoothly and the task gets done with much better content. Then once home, I can begin work and incorporate that information, which again creates a well thought out article, blog and project with much stronger content. Writing is work—emotionally and mentally draining—but when we learn to incorporate different ways of approaching it, we tap into our creative juices and become better at our craft. And that often pleases everyone.

    JUST what I needed! With the possible exception of social media which I more than make up for in the e-mail department , every one of these items points up a major issue in my current life. Increasing thinking time and decreasing pointless social media play needs to be on the agenda of every writer freelance or not. Thanks again Carol J. But we can all do more to be focused and just get the important stuff done, and let go of much of the rest.

    This still allowed me to be part of the morning coffee conversations, but it was also understood that I was working so if a friend or child saw me working intently, they could go to someone else for what they needed. Taking this approach allowed me to enjoy their visits without the usual stresses that putting off work brings.

    That allowed me to leave the computer on in the bedroom guests were in while we had in-laws visiting, and access it remotely from a laptop elsewhere. I never had to disturb them, or to feel stressed or put out that they were in my office, and kept total control of my own work hours. I did a lot of early-a. Worked out great! She found that it worked beautifully, so now more of us in the group are doing this. It works wonders for our productivity, even if, at the end of the work day, our brains are melted puddles at our feet.

    Love this.

    As a mom with young kids and minimal outside childcare, I have to work freelancing into the nooks and crannies — naps, night, preschool, and even bits and minutes throughout the day. I found an expert to interview for my next query this morning while my kids were eating breakfast.