If there’s anyone who needs to master time management it’s the full-time freelance writer. Here are some time management tips from seasoned pros. Follow these tips and start earning more money now!
1) Don’t take on too many small writing projects that pay peanuts. Many beginning writers take on a slew of jobs, like writing daily blog entries for companies that pay $7.00 per post, or short articles that pay only about $20.00 for a 400-500 word piece. These kinds of projects SOUND like a good idea. They can be finished quickly, and, if a writer can manage to acquire enough of these types of jobs, he/she can generate a steady income of cash. But the problem is, these small projects tend to eat up more time than you think, leaving you with less time to do the projects that will bring in substantial income.
Instead of taking on a bunch of these tiny jobs, try this. Plan out how much money you’d like to make from writing each month. Then, get to work finding a few jobs that will produce that amount of income. An article for a glossy magazine might pay $1.00 a word. If you manage to get an assigned article of 1,000 words, then you’ve got $1,000 of income from that one project alone.
Once you get good at cranking out quality articles and have established relationships with several magazine editors who will give you regular assignments, you could even write two to three magazine pieces a month, earning between $2,000 and $3,000 just for those articles.
True, it will take time to build relationships with magazine editors, but wouldn’t you rather be working on developing those relationships through thoughtful queries and articles rather than writing for peanuts all day, knowing you’ll NEVER earn more from that type of work?
2) Find multiple uses for many (if not most) of the things you write. For example, turn one of your blog posts into an article for an article directory. Later, combine several of these articles to make a free e-book to give away at your site when subscribers join your mailing list (and all writers need a mailing list). Also, reslant and rewrite each of your articles for submission to more than one market.
3) Phone calls can really cut into your writing time. If you’re researching an article and need to make phone calls to contact expert sources for this piece, plan to make all the calls in a single day. Then, once you’ve made the calls, you’ll have all the resource material you need to start writing the article.
If you don’t make all the calls in a single day you could be on and off the phone for days, working on ONLY this one article. Also, to make the most of your phone time, email editors ahead of time to arrange a time for your call. That way, you’ll know for certain that your source can talk to you at the time you call (so you won’t have call-backs to make because the source wasn’t in the office when you phoned).
4) Develop a weekly marketing plan to keep the work flowing in week after week. Freelance writers need to be writing (on assignment) or looking for writing work (assignments ) all the time, so it’s important to create a weekly marketing plan in addition to working on assigned pieces.
5) You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every nonfiction article you write. Look at the types of articles in major magazines these days. The titles for many of these pieces include a number like, “The Top Ten Ways to Save Money on Your Phone Bill,” or “A Dozen Ways to Cut Costs and Still Have the Wedding of Your Dreams,” and the article is simply a list of information. Create articles using a “list” type format like these. Not only are they quick and easy to write, but editors love this sort of thing.
6) Make use of your prime time. If you write best in the morning, before the phone starts to ring and you have other distractions and begin to get tired, do your most important writing at that time of day. Leave the afternoons for invoicing clients, returning phone calls, etc.
7) If you’re working on a fiction or nonfiction book, just write 2 pages a day. After you’ve written the 2 pages for the day, you can continue writing more pages, or move on to something else that day. If you manage to write more than 2 pages in a day, you’ll know you had a super productive day. Yet, if all you manage to write is 2 pages a day, you’ll still feel successful.
8) For nonfiction – get good at chunking out the work before you actually start writing. Come up with a catchy title, a great lead, then an outline. Do all that ahead of time and the article will be much faster to write by the time you do start writing it.
9) Plan a writing session with another writer. You don’t have to actually meet and write together. Just set a time frame – say from 9:00 to 11:00 tomorrow morning – when you will both plan to write. At 11:00, email or call each other to report your writing progress.
10) Allow yourself a specific amount of time for online activities like checking email, posting to your blog, playing computer games, and stick to ONLY those times. You’ll get more work done during the day, plus you won’t feel guilty once you do get online to check your email, play solitaire, etc.
Follow these ten tips and it won’t be long before you have plenty of time during the day to get your writing done, plus you should be making more money than ever!