Advice for organizing your life as a freelance writer

So, you’ve found a new vocation; freelance writing! It’s an exciting new adventure. However, freelance writing seems deceivingly simple and easy to manage. You can work from home and you’re your own boss in many ways because you get to pick and choose your projects. On the other hand, there are deadlines to keep and sometimes freelancers end up not planning appropriately, staying up till the wee hours of the morning and barely making deadlines. The stress may still creep in and be worse than when you had a regular job. So what happened? Although freelancing may seem simple, it still requires some organization so that you can stay on top of everything and enjoy all of the benefits of working from home, being your own boss and have a great quality of life.

productivity tips for freelance writers
Simple personal Kanban flickr photo shared by kanban_tool under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Tips to organize your life as a freelance writer:

  1. Set hours: Now these don’t need to be set in stone or the same for every day – but setting some sort of schedule and starting hours will help you be sure that you get enough work done every day. If you know you don’t want to work on Saturday, for example, plan your time throughout the week so that you have all of your projects under control. If you set hours for each day and you finish projects early, you can spend this time to look for new jobs, improve and update your CV or website. Spending time on your own development is also part of being a freelance writer. By setting hours, you’ll be sure to dedicate enough time to this sort of work as well.
  2. Set deadlines and time goals: Although your clients set deadlines for you most of the time, some of the deadlines give you a week or more for a project you could probably finish beforehand. If you give yourself an earlier deadline, you’ll have time to proofread your work well and turn in a better product. It’s also important to put a bit of pressure on yourself. Set time goals for how much time you’d like to spend on each project. For example, if you think you can push out a quality 1000 word article in an hour and half, set your goal. Set an additional time for proofreading. This will help you avoid the temptations of Facebook, youtube and surfing the web. Once you’re work is finished, you’ll have plenty of downtime.
  3. Use a Calendar: A calendar for keeping track of your projects and deadlines is very useful and will help you keep track of everything. Whether you like the old-fashioned desk or wall calendar or Google calendar, this tool will help you ensure you never miss a deadline.
  4. Make a workspace: Keeping a clutter-free area for working will help you concentrate while working. Designating this space and letting your family know where it is and what it means will also help make sure you experience as few interruptions as possible.
  5. Organize your files: Make a good system for organizing your files for each client. You may want to consider using an archive file within each client’s folder. There’s nothing worse than wanting to turn in a file and not being able to find it. Also remember to back up your work in case something should happen to your computer.
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