Showing posts with label freelance writing career. Show all posts
Showing posts with label freelance writing career. Show all posts

Freelance Writers: How to Stay Focused on Developing Your Writing Career

by Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer's Coach

One question I hear over and over again from the writers I coach is, "How do I get focused and stay that way?"

That's a good question. Even seasoned professional freelancers have trouble staying focused from time to time. And they usually find their writing careers start to suffer when that happens.


Here are some tips for getting focused on developing your freelance writing career and staying that way:

1. Brainstorm for a few minutes and make a list of all the things you like to write about. Once you've got several things on your list, narrow the list down to just your top two areas of interest. Stick with these two areas or topics for awhile. Any writing or research activities that don't come within these two areas of focus should be set aside - for now.

2. Every Sunday evening, or Monday morning, sketch out your marketing plan for the week. And remember, keep your two areas of interest in mind when you do this. Only put things on your marketing plan for the week that relate to your two areas of interest. If you've decided you love to write about parenting, for example, but you'd like to finish that novel you started years ago, don't even think about the novel right now. Instead, focus on the kinds of parenting articles you want to write. Start studying the different parenting publications you find at your local bookstore or library to get a feel for the kinds of articles they publish. Then, get busy and write some queries to a few of these markets.

3. Start small. Make just a few simple changes in your life that give your writing priority. For example, if you're trying to develop a freelance career while still holding down a full time job, don't over work yourself. You'll only end up frustrated and disappointed. However, do plan on structuring your days to give yourself at least 15 to 30 minutes EACH day to write queries or articles, research markets, or study books about writing techniques. Too many people think they have to allocate huge amounts of time in order to get a writing career started. And, since they don't have huge amounts of time available for writing, they don't write at all, so they never develop the freelance writing career of their dreams.

On the other hand, if you decide you absolutely MUST write for at least 15 minutes, every single day, and you stick to that, soon you'll see some big improvements in your writing and you'll also begin to feel more in control of your life. It doesn't matter when you schedule the 15 to 30 minutes. It could be in the mornings, in the evenings, or on your lunch hour at work. The important thing is, just do it.

4. Part of your weekly marketing plan should include how you will network with other businesses and other writers each week. Don't neglect this part of the marketing plan. Even if the only way you network with other writers is through a listserv or private email with another writer, make sure you do this each and every week. Contact with other writers will keep your passion for writing alive, even when the pressures of work and family threaten to make you lose focus. And networking with other business people just might result in a few writing assignments.

5. Have fun with your writing. Don't turn it into just another chore. If you do, chances are you'll give up on the idea of freelance writing very quickly. And, if that happens, you'll just feel disappointed in yourself again for failing to follow through on your dream.

Try all of the above tips for awhile. Then – if you find you can't manage to stay focused, or develop a marketing plan each and every week, or actually write queries or articles to submit to publishers – hire a writing coach. A good coach can keep you focused, will help you improve your writing skills, and will teach you insider tricks to marketing your work.

suzanne-cover 016-2Suzanne Lieurance is an author, freelance writer, certified professional life coach and writing coach, speaker and workshop presenter. She has written over two dozen published books and hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines, and other publications. She lives and writes by the sea in Jensen Beach, Florida.

Visit her blog at and for daily tips to help you stay focused on your writing career, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge at

Office Organization Tips: How to Get and Stay Organized for Your Freelance Writing Career


by Donna M. McDine

 You’re in the process of taking a writer’s course and the abundance of information thrown your way is filed neatly in your brain. You wish you could say the same for your work space. While all your notes, research, writer’s books, etc., are valuable for your writing career it’s a miracle you can even find your desk under the sea of paper.  It’s imperative that you have the best filing system for your needs! 

1.                  Analyze and Purchase Supplies: First make a visit to your local office supply store and purchase hanging folders, manila folders and folder labels. If you don’t have a file cabinet now would be a good time to purchase one. You could purchase the good old standard metal filing cabinet or a file cabinet on wheels. The file cabinet on wheels would come in handy if you are limited on space and need to remove it from your work area when entertaining.

2.                  Identify Categories: Upon your return tackle the job of sorting your mounds (hope it’s not too deep) of paper into categories. File names:
ü  Agent Info
ü  Character Development
ü  Critique Groups Dialogue
ü  Editing
ü  Commas & Punctuation
ü  Grammar
ü  Point of View; Plotting & Outlining Your MS
ü  Scene & Story Structure, Sensory Details. 

The list is endless. Your filing system will grow over time. While reading articles on writing that you find helpful clip and file the article immediately. This makes for easy referral later.

3.                  Create Your Files: Place all your pertinent papers in the appropriate file. Each manila folder should be inserted into an individual hanging file in alphabetical order for easy retrieval and filing.

4.                  Desktop File: Jan Jasper, author of Take Back Your Time: How to Regain Control of Work, Information, and Technology (St. Martin’s Press) states: “Action files must always be within easy reach – ideally in a small desktop file holder that holds the file folders upright so the tabs are clearly visible. For added peace of mind, make a note in your calendar or scheduling software to remind you of important dates. This combats the “out-of-sight, out of mind” worry and lets you clear your desk without fearing you’ll forget something important”*

[*Conquer Desktop Clutter with Action Files © Jan Jasper; 2001-2007
About the Author: Jan Jasper has been training busy people to work smarter, not harder since 1988. She helps clients streamline work procedures, manage information overload, and use technology efficiently. Her specialty is helping people who've already worked with professional organizers and coaches and are still not able to get it all done. Jan is the author of Take Back Your Time: How to Regain Control of Work, Information, & Technology (St. Martin's Press). She recently completed a North American media tour as the national efficiency spokesperson for IKON Office Solutions, Inc. She has appeared on radio and TV all over North America and is quoted regularly in print. Jan is an adjunct professor at New York University.]

Suggested important files to maintain to keep in your line of sight on your desktop are:
ü  Writing – Follow-up
ü  Writing – Reading
ü  Writing – Research
ü  Writing – To Do
ü  Writing – Work-in Progress
Each file then contains an inventory sheet of what tasks need to be accomplished.  You know your files and needs best, please feel free to revamp the categories to suit your needs.

5.                  Follow-through: Lastly, it is important that you maintain your new filing system daily or at least weekly. This way you will not get piled under the dreaded mounds of paper.

By following these five tips on an ongoing basis your tidal wave of papers will surely cease to exist.

Bio: Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author. Her stories, articles, and book reviews have been published in over 100 print and online publications. Her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Donna has four more books under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing, Hockey Agony, Powder Monkey, A Sandy Grave, and Dee and Deb, Off They Go. She writes, moms and is the Editor-in-Chief for Guardian Angel Kids and owner of Author PR Services from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI. Visit

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