Freelance writing plans for 2017 Or how I am going to be too ambitious and shoot myself in the foot

If you have read the post on how my freelance writing went this past year, you would see that I got quite a bit lucky but also found a lot of room for improvement.

The thing is, you can’t tell me that I need to improve on something because then I go get pen and paper and start planning to become better at whatever said sucky thing is. And I kind of go overboard.

I would like to share this process with you so you can see how damn stupid my brain is at times and smart at other times. As my sister says “We don’t know how someone so bright can also be so dumb.”

This is how.

The first thing I did? I decided that I do not focus on my writing enough. I need to be more disciplined with it. It needs to come first. The problem with me and priorities is that all the different parts of my life are important. But writing, creative writing and to another extent freelance writing, took a back seat in 2016.

And you know, to some of you, that would be an ok thing for me to do right now – my creative writing isn’t making me money and I do need to sock some cash away for awhile so hey maybe non-paid work should be on the backburner?

But then I went and volunteered a ton instead. And found myself a boyfriend. And a semblance of a social life.

So something has to change. And don’t worry, boyfriend, it isn’t you. :-*

And therefore I should write more and more often.

So here are the goals I want to achieve in 2017 along with some steps I can take to achieve them – if I get them done by April then that’s a bonus.

Get a job (hopefully in journalism but if not then in anything else to give me a bit of breathing space):

  1. Apply for jobs.
  2. Ask friends.

Improve my health:

  1. Consume no sugar/alcohol for as long as possible.
  2. Drink 2 litres of water per day.
  3. Exercise daily.
  4. Wake up at 5 am.

Publish Sedition:

  1. Find an editor and get it edited.
  2. Do the rewriting work needed.
  3. Submit it to competitions and publishers.

Save 10K:

  1. Have as many No Spend days as possible.
  2. Don’t go over my $800 per month budget.
  3. Change accounts around to earn interest and to sort out invoicing.

Manage my volunteering:

  1. Only set aside an hour per week for volunteering work.
  2. Prep in advance for DWOA/MEAA/AWW volunteering work.

Pass my driving test:

  1. Practice as much as possible.
  2. Take the test.

Earn more (I have set levels I want to reach for these, one step at a time so I have kept this private for now):

  1. Get a job.
  2. Get more freelancing clients.
  3. Pitch 5-10 times per week.
  4. Cold call people.

Improve the website:

  1. Post 2-3 times per week.
  2. Improve the mailing list for the readers.
  3. Improve the SEO.

Write more:

  1. Create character notes for all projects.
  2. Create outlines for all projects.
  3. Write 1-2,000 words per day (out of Mridu Kullar Relph’s book).
  4. Edit and submit work.

Improve at freelancing:

  1. Develop a plan.
  2. Get more clients.
  3. Pitch 5-10 times per week.
  4. Log submissions.

I then listed all my creative writing projects:

  1. Sedition – it needs to be edited and then possibly rewritten and then submitted to competitions and publishers.
  2. HIM – I need to complete a first draft of it ASAP.
  3. Gin and Tonic – it needs an outline, then character notes and then a first draft.
  4. A play – idea known, title unknown at this stage and I have no clue how to write a play.
  5. 52 short stories – 17 by the end of April which seems more doable.

I would like to reiterate that I want to do all of this within 2017. To make up for feeling bad for taking 12 years to get Sedition to completed shoddy first draft stage. Because I am, as my sister put it, dumb.

Working out the schedule

After last year I realised that I need to have more of a plan in place for my freelancing days but less of a schedule that was tied to set times – I needed a  clear order in which to tackle all the tasks that made up my freelancing day.


Freelancing work day:

5 am: wake up
exercise
breakfast: miso soup + oats
1 -2000 words creative writing
apply for two jobs
check freelance markets and sources
work on pitch 1
send pitch 1
work on pitch 2
send pitch 2
1/2 hour brainstorming new pitch ideas
lunch
work on website for 1 hour
creative writing till 6 pm
stop at 6 pm
shower + dinner
call friends
read


The needs list

The next thing then is to create a list of things I will need in order to get anywhere with any of these goals.

  1. I need friends to lend me their cars and time so I can practice and ace my practical test. I can’t spend any more money on lessons right now.
  2. I need writing prompts to work on the short stories.
  3. I need a part time job somewhere and anywhere so I need to tell people to be on the lookout for such things.
  4. I need to let people know that I can only give them an hour a week for anything volunteer related and that everything will need to be done within that hour and not before or after.
  5. I need to make sure people know I am cutting out sugar and alcohol.
  6. I need to get ready faster in the morning including exercise and motivation to get out of bed so I can get to my other commitments on time. This will be a hard slog at first.
  7. I need to set aside one day per fortnight/month to do all my errands in.
  8. I need to change the account number on my invoices to my savings account so everything goes into it directly.
  9. I need to find places to work where I can get a change of scenery, am comfortable if sitting for a long period of time, can get there easily and have the internet.
  10. I need new clients, preferably big ones, preferably regular ones.
  11. I need to trick myself into getting to bed early and waking up early and while cutting sugar and alcohol helps with this, until it sticks I need to trick myself somehow.
  12. I need to stay under my budget of $800 per month.

So what am I doing now?

As you are reading this I am in Colombo, Sri Lanka and have had a few weeks to try and get some of the schedule down to a rhythm and pattern so it isn’t too hard to start up when I get back to Perth in a few days’ time.

Do you have any ideas for how I can plan my freelance writing work and goals better? What goals are you making for the new year? How do you achieve your goals? Or do you have tips and tricks to help me work on mine?




Photo credits: Plan A by Wicker Paradise Favourites via Flickr; The Road by David Weinland via Flickr and I am a writer by David Turnbull via Flickr

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