Quick Tip: Customize Your Browser Start Page for Increased Productivity

As writers we frequently rely on the web in our work. We manage our own websites and blogs. We visit others to stay connected with colleagues and stay on top of industry news. We use social media tools in networking and marketing. And sometimes the sheer number of websites we need to visit on a regular basis can get overwhelming. Fortunately there’s a simple trick

7 Time Management Tools for Freelance Writers

As a freelance writer do you ever feel like you aren’t working to your full potential — that you could get more work done if you could just eliminate some distractions and improve your productivity a bit? Fortunately there are plenty of time management tools that can help you do that. Today I’d like to share some of my favorite types of time management tools

Quick Tip: The Pomodoro Technique for Authors

One of my favorite productivity tools in my freelance writing and blogging work is a timer. I use something called the Pomodoro Technique which breaks down my work into small, manageable periods of time. It’s a great way to stay focused and push yourself to see how much you can do in a short stretch. And it turns out, it works well for writing books

Gamification: Make Freelance Writing More Fun

In the comments on a previous post about loving your work, Anne Wayman mentioned that she wanted to try to turn some of her marketing into a game. That’s something I try to do with my daily work as much as possible too. So I thought it might be fun to look at gamification and how you can gamify your freelance writing work. Gamification doesn’t have to

Looking After Your Health While Working From Home

I’ve had a rough couple of days this week. It started Sunday night. Between now and then I’ve had restless nights, fluttering feelings, a bit of lightheadedness, and a variety of other symptoms. By Monday morning I was imagining the worst. My husband worked from home that day just in case I decided to go into the hospital to get checked out. Thankfully it didn’t

Pros and Cons of Multitasking for Freelancers

Multitasking. It’s awesome. It’s evil. It will make you more productive. It will make you less productive. It will make you more successful. It will destroy your business. What’s the truth when it comes to multitasking in your freelance writing business? The truth is, it depends. Should You Multitask? It depends on what kinds of tasks you’re talking about. For example, it would probably be

Reader Questions: Business Growth, Time Management, and More

In today’s post I’ll answer several reader questions recently submitted by Wendy Komancheck, a freelance writer who specializes in writing for landscapers and related businesses. These questions came as a follow-up to my recent post, “How Writers Can Stay Productive Even During Sick Days,” where Wendy brought up the issue of not being able to take sick days because she doesn’t get paid time off.

How Writers Can Stay Productive Even During Sick Days

So far this year, I’ve had one normal work day. One. Just a day after returning to work from my holiday break, I needed a sick day. That turned into a “sick week.” And it’s now going on week two. Surprisingly though, those sick days have still been productive days. I launched several new features here on this site. I published several blog posts on various

Freelance Writers: Change Your Habits, Change Your Career

We all have goals for our freelance writing careers. And many of us are probably gearing up to make changes in the New Year. But what happens when you feel stuck — like there’s no time left in the day to actually work on growing our businesses? No matter how busy or even overwhelmed you might feel there’s always one option open. Change your current

What Gets You Through a Long Day of Writing?

There are some days when I really don’t feel like writing. But the work has to be finished anyway. Sometimes I plug away and get through the day on sheer will. Sometimes it’s more of a struggle and all I can think about is making it to quitting time. Fortunately these long, exhausting days aren’t the norm. Maybe I committed to too much because a

Shifting Schedules (Again): How to Tell When It’s Time

As any work-at-home parent knows, your schedule is at the mercy of your family. The exception might be those who have a babysitter or daycare lined up, but for most of us, we have to plug along as best with we can with holidays, changing sleep schedules, summer vacations and the rest of it. Over the almost eight years I’ve been working from home, I’ve

How Freelance Writers Can Be Productive With Finances

Writing is actually one of the easier parts of freelancing writing. Maybe it’s like that with all craft-turned-businesses. The tougher parts of being a professional freelance writer can be things like finding clients, having a steady stream of ideas, and managing the finances. Because I’m no fan of mulling over finances for hours, there are some things I do to make this area of freelancing

Weekend Reading: Spring Cleaning

Happy Spring! Let’s get right into the season by talking about spring cleaning for writers. How might it apply to us as freelance writers? It can help us improve our productivity and get more organized. You might need to re-organize your files. You might need to clean and organize your home office so you can minimize distractions. Maybe you’ll want to revamp your bookkeeping system or

How Word Count Trackers Can Make You More Productive

I’m a big fan of any tool that can help me get more work finished in less time. One tool freelance writers might not think to use is a word count tracker. But word count trackers are more for authors, right? Sure. They’re great for tracking your progress on a book. But there are also plenty of ways you can use them with typical freelance

Weekend Reading: Productivity

Each week we look at a specific issue facing freelance writers. This week let’s look at productivity — how you can improve yours, get more work done each day, have more time for yourself, and make more money in the process. I make it no secret that productivity plays a big role in my own freelance writing business. Focusing on a “work smarter” strategy to

5 Tips for Becoming a Happier and More Productive Freelance Writer

It’s one thing to enjoy the freedom freelance writing offers. But sometimes we still get overwhelmed. Deadlines loom, payments might seem to take forever, and our to-do lists could occupy a mile-long scroll. Fortunately there are some things you can do to make yourself more productive than ever, and even happier in your freelance writing work. Here are five tips to help you become a

Get Productive and Increase Your Writing Income

The freelance life is complicated. You can get to the end of what seemed like a productive day, and realize that you achieved nothing of major importance. Deadlines are looming, you’re not making as much money as you feel you should be making, and you wonder what you’re doing wrong. Professional writing used to be much simpler. You got clients, completed projects, and collected the

Weekend Reading: Time Management

Let’s close out this week looking at a rather important issue: time management tips for writers. You have to be disciplined to succeed as a freelancer. Countless things need to be done, and there never seems to be enough time. Do you find that you struggle in this area? Do you have problems prioritizing tasks on a day-to-day basis? Is your to-do list getting out

Weekend Reading: Your Home Office

One of the biggest perks of freelancing is being able to work from home. And that often involves a home office of some kind — from a separate room to a corner of the kitchen table. This week we’re going to take a look at tips and examples of home offices for freelance writers, and tips on keeping that home office organized. If you’re still

What To Do With Extra Writing Income

Is your freelance writing business netting you more money than what’s needed to pay the bills? It’s not a bad problem to have. Here are some ways you can spend that extra money. Make sure you set aside enough for taxes. If you’re earning more than you expected, you may also owe more taxes than you expected. Update your estimated tax calculation and set aside

What We Can Learn from WAHM Writers

We all know that the work-at-home-mom (WAHM) writers aren’t considered the upper echelon of the writing community. If you didn’t know that, you’ve never read about the cost-savings to be had by tricking desperate WAHMs into providing ultra cheap articles in a particular forum’s Special Offers. Well, as a few of us here can tell you, having children and enjoying a professional writing career are certainly not exclusive entities, and even

10 Android Apps for Writers and Bloggers

My hubby recently decided that we should upgrade our phones, and we both went the Android route. I’ve spent a good bit of time setting things up for both personal and business use, and in the process I’ve come across some great apps that should improve my productivity. Here are five of my favorite Android apps so far (all free) that might be of interest

Managing Finances Without a Guaranteed Paycheck

If you’ve freelanced at all before, you probably already know: there are no guaranteed paychecks in freelance writing. I often tell my family and friends, particularly those who dream up things for me to do during work hours, that my pay is tied directly to my productivity. I don’t write, I don’t get paid. It’s not like a desk job where you clock in, stay

How to Handle Overbooking Freelance Writing Work

I previously talked about why it’s a good idea to pursue too many freelance writing jobs. However, what should you do if you overbook yourself as a result of your marketing, pitching and prospecting? You’re at a point other freelance writers would envy, so congratulations! The work is coming in and your marketing efforts are paying off. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not still difficult

3 Basic Business Skills All Freelancers Need

Successful freelancing involves more than having the ability to write (or design, code, or whatever service you offer). Freelancers also need some basic business skills to manage and grow a freelance business. These are the skills that allow you to attract clients, manage finances, and make appropriate plans for the future. Let’s look at three basic business skills all freelancers should have, and resources that

Writing at Home: Can I Do This?

It’s not an unusual question. We all wonder from time to time if this world of freelancing from home is worth the extra time and effort it takes to be successful. Naturally we usually find plenty of reasons that it is, in fact, worth the hassles and stress. To name a few: freelance writers who work at home enjoy schedule flexibility, more time with family,

Outlining Your Writing Career Path

Recently I was looking over one of my favorite resources on book outlining — Karen Wiesner’s First Draft in 30 Days. Toward the end of the book she has a section on outlining your career as an author, including a one-year plan and multi-year planning. It was a bit of a kick in the pants (given that I forgot this section existed). You see, I have plenty

How to Become a "Super Freelancer"

Some work days as freelancers are easy. We wake up ready to face the day. We enjoy the projects we’re working on. And everything seems to go as planned. Then there are days when nothing seems to go right. I’ve had several of these lately — from backlogged work I’m still trying to catch up on to a neighbor who disrupts almost every work day

Is Freelance Writing Wasting Your Time?

I was browsing through a popular working mom forum recently and found a popular thread that was both interesting and disturbing. In the thread, moms were discussing their work schedule – a popular topic I like to discuss as well. On the forum, the moms were describing how much of their day they spend dedicated to writing part-time and it disturbed me. A lot. The

When Working Conditions Are Never Right

There are those among us who can only work when the conditions are just right. They must have the right music or show on in the background. They must have their ergonomic chair positioned just so and their office door opened exactly three inches to allow for cross ventilation while blocking 93 percent of all regular household noises. I’m not that person. Nor is any