Five tips for a successful freelance career.
Having your “command central” station cluttered also clutters your mind. If you have to scrounge around under a pile of old junk mail just to find a pen (the Post-It notes disappeared a week ago and you have been writing on the backs of envelopes since then), it is time to organize. Of course, everyone is not organized. There are some people out there who are just born “pack rats”. They are those rare odd birds who proclaim that they can only function amidst chaos, and that there is method to their madness. Otherwise, people have to have some kind of organizational method, especially when their business begins to thrive and they actually start getting paid. It is a necessity that the professional writer can also act as a business person who can deal with bookkeeping, taxes and such.
This seems like a completely trivial matter, does it not? There must be some writers, somewhere, who, thanks to modern technology and the emergence of hand-held devices and other mobile platforms, have little or no need for the traditional pen and paper anymore. For those old souls who still cling to the dramatic flair of the well-used notebook, or the cracked and bent journal, you will understand the importance of being comfortable writing for extended periods of time. Aesthetically, unimportant as it seems, you will enjoy the writing process more using a good, quality pen. Some people even enjoy writing with novelty pens that have characters or are furry…the possibilities are endless. It is not recommended that you a pen that lights up, or will distract you from your main purpose of writing in any way.
The most obvious reason for having pens is that, if you are like most writers, you have those moments when you are stuck in line at the grocery store and are suddenly just catalyzed by a new idea, one that you must write down immediately, before you forget it. Obviously, such is a time when you would want to have a pen around (in this case any pen would likely suffice) and you would definitely settle for the back of one of those aforementioned envelopes.
While you are perusing the aisles for the pen to suit your heart’s fancy, be sure to grab a notebook or something else (besides an old envelope) on which to jot quick ideas and notes to yourself.
You will find a spiral-bound notebook to be invaluable for making notes about something you want to work on later, such as a novel, or new ideas you want to research. They are also good for keeping up with passwords and writing down a web address. Of course, you could just bookmark web addresses, but if it is something you just want to check out, you don’t necessarily want to clutter up you bookmark list or your favorite places list.
Old notebooks filled with jotted notes and half-finished drafts can be a treasure trove of good brainstorming material at a later time. Putting an idea down and going on to something else allows your brain to refocus, and refresh. When you go back to the old material later, you may find that in the meantime you have picked up a world of information, and the the perfect time has arrived to turn the idea into an entity.
such as Microsoft Office Live. Note: this is not the same thing as a homepage, which comes free when you set up an email account anywhere, such as MSN, Yahoo!, or Google. Nor is it the same as having a profile page. With sites like Office Live, you get one year of free domain name hosting, and you get to pick the name, for instance, http://profreelancewriter.com, which is hosted by Microsoft Office Live. You get up to one-hundred email boxes, and you have up to four identities (i.e. user names). You also get free web design tools, visitor reports, and site traffic monitoring. You can download countless different widgets and gadgets to customize your page. Your website is where you will be able to show examples of your work, or your portfolio.
Having a website with a professional appearance is important because your website, in addition to your writing work, will be the first impression and strongest selling point for you and your services. The more polished and professional your website is, the more likely any prospective publishers, agents, or employers will be to take you and your work seriously. Your “All About Me” page on Yahoo! 360, with all the pictures of you and your fake parakeet at last year’s Halloween party may still be a hoot for all your friends, but a publisher looking for someone who will be serious about a project probably will not be as impressed. Build and develop a site that will highlight your work and achievements, and cast you in the most professional, appealing light possible.
Go to an article submission site like Helium, Triond, eHow, or About.com and just click away, perusing the site for interesting articles. You never know what you may find, including something you had never heard of before that becomes a new interest and source of subject matter. You will discover not only interesting new things, but you will also get a fresh look at others’ writing styles, and what people are interested in. You may also find people who share common interests and expertise with you, people who would provide valuable networking sources. There is always someone out there who has a bit more knowledge on the subject, and meeting and networking with such people will give you deeper insight into what to write, and who to write it for.