Use A Journal To Optimize Your Freelance Writing Career

Ever had a journal when you were a kid? You know, those impressive hardcover books where you'd write down what you did today and your secrets and questions about the universe? Well, most of you had a book. We didn't have a lot of money, so I wrote on any blank space I could find. I soon learned that my homework was not a good place to list girls I had a crush on.

But even if journaling wasn't your cup of scotch, I recommend you start one up now. No, you're not going to talk about what your cat did today. (Even though he looks cute with a cigarette in his mouth.) This journal has a much more important goal - to optimize your freelance writing career. After all, if you're going to be accountable for your success, you're going to need some tools.

You see, the big problem with life is that it doesn't always run smooth. Like a piece of hand-me-down Swiss cheese, problems are always sneaking into what should be a happy existence. And many of these problems aren't so easy to figure out in your head. I know I've laid awake at night thinking about the tough questions. Like, "Is there a Greek god of winning the lottery that I should be praying to instead?"

That's where the journal comes in. By writing about these problems in a journal, you can organize your thoughts, exploring each piece of the problem separately through different angles. This'll help you create better solutions and realize factors you might have missed otherwise. To be fair, though, you don't need EVERY factor. Some of them can be missed, like The O'Reilly Factor.

But that's only part one of this three-step program. The next step is to actually take action on the best solutions you've created. See, some of your solutions may take courage to implement. And trust me, that can be hard sometimes. Maybe you're afraid that your solution will backfire. I know how that feels. After one of my solutions backfired in chemistry, I was afraid to tell the teacher why my neighbor wasn't a boy anymore.

It's true that you COULD lose some money if you market a certain way. You COULD lose a client because you felt like upping your rates to a level you deserve. But you know what? Unless you've got a time-traveling car powered by Mr. Fusion, you don't know what's going to happen. You shouldn't blindly charge in, but you can't let thoughts of the future restrict you. Stay focused on the present moment - the only moment you can truly predict. How are you going to screw up RIGHT NOW?

Then again, it's okay if your solution doesn't quite cut it on the first go. Just go back to your journal and grill your mind for answers. What works? What doesn't work? Why? What can I do to fix that? Optimizing your career usually doesn't mean you'll solve all your issues right away. You have to keep working on it until it's perfect. All great ideas need revision. I mean, what would have happened if Einstein quit working on his formula? We'd be stuck with his first draft. Kids would be learning "E=MC Hammer".

Use this method often, and over time you'll gain tons of clarity about what works for you. And it doesn't just work for your career. Improving any aspect of your life can start with just one dedicated journal entry. I keep up with a few journals myself, and let me tell you, they've helped me grow closer and closer to what I really want out of life. You should give it a try as well. Try keeping a journal about my life, and you'll see firsthand how I can make it better than yours.

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Matt Willard's bio begins with witty phrasing that succinctly illustrates his stance as a humorist. It is then followed with a clever sentence that illustrates what he does in his spare time. The bio concludes with a shameless link to his Twitter profile, paired with an off-hand comment that alludes to his success with women. Laughter.

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2 thoughts on “Use A Journal To Optimize Your Freelance Writing Career”

  1. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the post. At first glance, I assumed your article was a play on words for writing for journals. Wrong… I agree with your idea of using a journal to clarify thoughts, issues and strategies. But beware – don’t replace this task with searching for and building business.

  2. @Dawn: This is true. Part of improving any part of your life, business or otherwise, is taking action. But afterwards, it’s helpful to go back to the drawing board and see what can be improved.


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