Organize your freelance writer workspace

Your workspace might be in an office, a living room or your bedroom - freelance writers have the freedom to write wherever we want.  Mine's in what's supposed to be a dining room next to a window.

Some freelance writers find it difficult to work on an empty desk, and others thrive on heaps of clutter... but there are reasons to keep things on your desk (and to keep them organized) that will help you be a better freelance writer.

What needs to be on (or around, or in) your desk?

  • A goal chart
  • Invoices
  • Hard copies of work you've done
  • Blank thank-you notes
  • A pile of business cards
  • Empty file folders
  • A day planner
A goal chart will help you track your progress - choose weekly, monthly or quarterly to accurately track your progress.  It can be a simple dry-erase board or it can be an elaborate jar you fill with marbles to match each milestone.

Invoices need to be easily accessible for tax time - and even if a client paid you without an invoice, you should make one up and mark it "paid" anyway.  If you keep them in order, everything will be a breeze in April.

Hard copies of work you've completed come in handy for quick reference, and serve as tangible backups in case your computer decides to display only the blue screen of death.  Some freelance writers find that hard copies are the best way to find errors in their work; they're also easy to hand to someone else for instant proofing.

Blank thank you notes are a necessity.  When a potential client contacts you, the right thing to do is send a personal note (with a couple business cards in it, of course) thanking them for reaching out.  You should also send them whenever you finish a project, no matter how small.  Things like that really make you stand out among your competition - and if a client remembers you later, you're going to get another contract.

A pile of business cards can serve two purposes: first, they can remind you that you need to hand more of them out; second, they're there when you need to put them inside a thank you note.

Freelance writers can never have too many empty file folders.  You'll need them to separate different work for different clients, and you can store hard copies of your invoices inside.

Day planners help you stick to your goals - if you're off track, make sure you get back on - freelance writing is a business, and you've got to treat it that way.  Outlook Express has an electronic day planner that plays alarm tones when you need to move on to the next project; however, a paper day planner can be scribbled on and flipped through.

What organizational tactics do you use?  Do you work happily in clutter, or do you need a sterile desk to create?  Share your tips and ideas below - and please, include a link to your own blog or website!

4 comments:

Hi Angie, I really liked your site. I have added Amazon to my blog to generate a optional monetize site to make money. That blog site will do very little if I can not steer people to it to begin with. I may hire you if the price is right. My college venture fell through, and I don't have the money to do what they are asking me to do, so I will keep on doing what I do every day. Thanks for the invite to your site.

Rex Coker

Rex, you're an angel.. you know that?

I am usually a mess. But I do best If I am in a neat environment.
When writing for Helium, since its pretty much mass article production I do best when I have my spread sheet on paper and I fill in which articles I did that day, empty or competitive, how many fact checks, how many title seeds, how many rates and then $$ calc for each day.
It might seem tedious but I like to see progress or I'm quick to quit otherwise so seeing a page fill up and money add up is sort of like motivation.
Now only if I could somehow set up my comp to block me from going to all the distracting sites during writing time!!

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