As a freelance writer, whether you work at it part time or full time, it is important to get organized and stay organized. If you’re like most freelance writers, you have difficulty turning off your mind. You are always coming up with wonderful ideas. One of the reasons to become organized is to ensure you don’t lose any of those great ideas. Another reason is so you can be as productive as possible. It’s better to spend your time writing than to spend time searching through piles of papers and stacks of books for notes you made a week ago. So, here are some ways to get organized and stay that way:
1. If you are piled high, put everything on hold and take the time to un-pile yourself. If this means purchasing another file cabinet or bookcase or two, so be it. Buy them and move them in. If your entire apartment or house is filled with piles relating to your writing, make a plan. For example, you could count the number of piles and commit yourself to un-piling a certain number of them per day. Or you could take it a room at time and evaluate how long it will take you to do a room and stick with the parameters you choose.
2. Once you have all the piles taken care of the next step is to develop an idea file. If you have favorite topics, or favorite areas of interest, establish a folder for each interest and many empty unmarked folders. This will be your file drawer of ideas. Every time you have an idea, jot it down and put it in one of your folders. The best way to do this when you are out is to keep an idea notebook with you at all times. When an idea hits, make a notation in your book. When you return home, file the idea in the appropriate folder. If you’re out and don’t have your notebook, write the idea on anything handy, such as a napkin and drop it in the folder when you return home.
3. Set up a writing schedule. If you work part time or full time, it’s important to carve out a time each day to write. Part of organizing yourself as a writer is ensuring that you have time to write. Make this a priority in your life as a freelance writer.
4. Devise a plan for productivity. Make a list of what you want to accomplish broadly within the next year, and more specifically in the next three months, the next month, and the next week. An easy way to note these goals is to map it out on a calendar. This exercise will keep you on track. That doesn’t mean that you can’t follow a bright idea if one hits, but it’ll give you an organized way to approach your freelance writing career.
Once organized, it’s important to stay that way so you don’t have to use valuable writing time to organize again. Devise a play to put things away as you go along, so you can ensure you have the time to write.