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The life of a freelance writer

by Guest Blogger Robbi Hess

Hi, I’m a freelance writer! Sounds good, right? Ready to make it happen? Here are a few tips from a long term writer-on-assignment (me!) When you make the announcement to acquaintances that you are a freelance writer their minds immediately take them to the idea that you spend your days lounging around in coffee shops, sipping decaf lattes and lingering over each word you type into your state-of-
2449834951_32a1172ab1_z the-art laptop. Oh, if only that were true.

The true life of a freelancer, while coming with the freedom to write at 4 a.m. or 4 p.m. can typically be a fine line between finishing an article on time and wondering where the next assignment is going to come from.

Here are some tips for making the most of your freelance life and for finding ways to earn enough money to afford to keep yourself in decaf lattes:

  1.  Get dressed: Truly, getting up and showering, brushing your teeth and putting on clothes not only makes you more attractive to the family and pets, but makes you feel more productive. It’s mind over matter – you feel professional therefore you are professional! It doesn’t matter if your office is the edge of the bed or the kitchen table once the breakfast clutter has been cleared away, if you’re a freelance writer pursuing a professional career you need to think of yourself as a professional writer and act (and dress) accordingly.
  2. Punching a clock: As a writer, you will have the benefit of choosing your own hours. If you write best in the middle of the night or in the middle of the afternoon, that’s fine as long as you meet your deadlines. You do need to create a division between home and work, because you don’t want to be working 24/7 – that’s not good for your mental or physical health.  Also, once you know your best writing time, make sure you’re ready to work; turn off email, sign out of Facebook and log out of the video games. You need to devote time to your writing without distractions.
  3. Taking a break: I will admit to this – I am not a good example of not being distracted by television becaue I watch it all day, every day while I am working. Sometimes I turn on the radio but more often than not the television is chattering away while I work. I also find myself stopping to do laundry or go to the grocery store and while it gives me a break from the keyboard, it’s easy to not take your freelance writing career seriously because you don’t have a boss standing over your shoulder as you would if you were in an office, but you don’t want to be so lax in your work schedule that you scramble to complete a project by its deadline – your work quality will suffer and your assignments could dry up.
  4. See the world: This may sound contradictory to the tip above, but remember you do need to get out into the world. Many writers are solitary individuals by nature and that is why the freelance life suits them but it’s easy to isolate yourself and as the days go by it’s easier to not leave the house than it is to leave it. Don’t let yourself get in the habit of cancelling lunch or dinner dates, make certain you attend networking or writers’ groups. As a writer, how can you effectively write about the world outside your door if you never make it outside the door?

If you’ve decided that 2011 is the year your freelance career is going to become the focus of your life, then take time to think of the tips above and look at where you can set up your home office, what times you will be writing and what you will do to still maintain a social life. Next week, I’ll talk about where to find writing assignments and how to catch the editor’s eye with your awesome query letter!

Comments

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I know the being a freelance writer is not an easy job, there are still few things that you should consider when if you want to get successful with freelancing writing, although a freelance writer is an important person in a business.

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If you own a small online business and you're looking for a part time freelance writers to work on your content, I can tell you, the number one problem you'll be facing is finding an editor/writer that would always be available.

Veronika Freeman

That's probably one of the hardest thing about being a freelancer or entrepreneur: the balance between work-time and free-time.

We probably all have our share of friends that don't understand why we can't lunch and/or shop with them EVERY day. And, since we're all so "socially networked", we are cautious about being seen as goofing off when we tweet or post about a great lunch we had or deal with got while out shopping during "work" hours.

On the other hand, there are times when the muse calls at 7 or 9 or 11pm and we are in a work zone during hours most people aren't - they don't understand that we don't necessarily shut off our computers at 5pm like those at a desk job do.

Grouping your appointments and allowing one or two "play-dates" or networking ops a week helps me keep focused. I also remind myself that every appointment is potentially 4 hours out of the house (with prep and travel time); thinking about only the event time-length can be very deceiving! Yes, the luncheon is only 2 hours but preparing and driving, then chatting afterward can easily make that a 3.5-4.5 hour chunk of your day!

I have a few writer friends I'll pass this link along to; looking forward to next week's post,
V-

caren gittleman

fabulous advice!! Can't wait for your follow-up articles!

What do you do about newly retired husbands who think when you are on your laptop in the kitchen that you are "holding court?"....mine is BEYOND distracting! I don't want to move the laptop into the bedroom it is not a spot that is conducive to writing for me.

He needs to find something to do! I am on the computer very early in the morning (at least by 6am)...usually break around noon...then back online til about 3....then back on after dinner...often til late into the night.

I am sooo looking forward to your updates! :)

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