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Time Management Tips for Freelance Writers

Updated on February 19, 2019
LindaSarhan profile image

Linda Sarhan has been a freelance writer and researcher for over 20 years and has a B.A. in English and creative writing.

For many people, freelance writing is a serious career choice that can be rewarding on many levels. Time management is essential to any writer, especially freelance writers. Knowing how to organize your time and workspace will help set the tone to become a successful freelance writer.

In fact, one of the biggest challenges to freelance writers is time management. These six simple tips should set you on the right track. Once you get into the habit of using these tips, they will become like second nature.

Set a Schedule

Treat your freelance writing career like a job. Like most jobs, you have a set time you are supposed to be clocked in for work and a time to clock out. Freelance writing should not be any different. Although freelance writing can be quite flexible, sometimes making a schedule will help you stay focused and on task.

Setting a schedule is great for those with a busy schedule and for those who have what seems like all the time in the world. Those who have busy schedules will benefit from scheduling certain times to work because it will allow them to have a timeline to accomplish everything they must do in a given day. Those who have all the time in the world, a schedule will help you stay focused on doing serious work.

Some people work better during the day, such as mornings or afternoons. Others work better at night. It is a matter of knowing yourself to better maximize your creativity. Some freelance writers have other jobs or obligations. Having a personal organizer and calendars will help keep your schedule organized and remind you of important deadlines and appointments.


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Set Goals and Deadlines

Consider your schedule before setting goals and deadlines. Decide what needs to be done each day. For example, if you write articles you need to determine how many articles to write each day. If you market or promote your articles, set aside the time in your schedule to do this.

Also, think ahead. For some freelance writers capitalize on seasonal topics. Consider making a list of titles or topics to write on and the deadline by which you wish to accomplish this. Even if the topic or title isn't seasonal, consider setting deadlines for these to be written. By setting deadlines, you are setting goals to accomplish and holding yourself to professional accountability.

If you are writing the next best selling novel or non-fiction book, decide whether you want to complete a chapter a day, a week, or every two weeks, and so on. Remember to make your goals realistic.

Eliminate Distractions

Setting goals are easy compared to accomplishing them. Making sure your goals are accomplished is going to be up to you. One way to ensure success is to eliminate anything else that may distract you. Turn off the phone, the television, and anything else that may distract you. If kids are your distraction, depending upon their age, you could wait until their nap times or simply set them up with a quiet activity. If possible, perhaps have a family member or a babysitter what the children. If your budget allows, consider daycare for a few hours or even a parents’ day out program.

Always Carry Pen and Paper

Living in the age of technology, many people take a good old fashion pen and paper for granted. Many people prefer a laptop but pen and paper can still last longer than a battery along with being more portable. If you still insist upon bringing a laptop along, at least bring the basic pen and paper as back up. Some writers have written several articles by simply waiting in a doctor’s office or waiting for the kids to finish sports practice. You can even utilize this time to write down article or book ideas. You might be surprised at how often you can be inspired at the most inconvenient times, therefore a pen and paper becomes quite valuable.

Voice Recorder

What if you spend most of your time driving? Pen and paper or a laptop isn’t the safest method while driving. Consider investing in a voice recorder. You could choose a digital recorder that doesn’t require tapes or one that does. While driving or doing other activities, such as folding laundry, you could verbalize your article. Verbalizing your article or ideas is much easier than you think. You could, at a later time, then take the recorder and your computer and type what you have already composed. You can pause the recording and edit as you go.

Organize Your Work Space

The first step is creating a workspace. When you treat freelance writing as a job or career, whether part-time or full-time, you will find that you will have more success. Make sure you have a location in your home that is focused on your writing career. Be sure the space is organized and neat so that you can find things easily. Also determine what things you will need, such as a computer, printer, paper, pens, sticky notes, etc. Also have a personal phone book, address book, or Rolodex nearby so you will have important or relevant numbers close by.

Consider having a couple of notebooks handy for taking notes and jotting down reminders for future projects. Some best writers and authors live by sticky-notes. They are easy to jot down reminders and either stick to a wall or board.

Just as you would clean up your workspace before you leave any other job, get into a habit of cleaning up your workspace daily. Also, have a weekly and monthly routine to discard any old notes or filing important information that you weren't able to get to immediately. Having an organized workspace will help you become a more efficient freelance writer.

For most of us, a simple organized plan is just what we need to stay focus and be the most successful writer we can be. Most successful goals require planning and freelance writing is not any different. You will find that many successful freelance writers use most if not all of these five simple methods to manage their time. In fact, most successful careers required implementing a plan and time management is a large contributing factor to success.

© 2014 L. Sarhan


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