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Freelancing,  Productivity,  Updates

My goals for 2022: making my freelancing work better for me

We talked about how I am trying to set and plan goals for 2022 in the last blog post. So this one is to tell you what those goals are.

Goal 1: Blogging more often


Why: I started with the blog and the purpose of this blog is to provide information that I struggled to find when I first started out. It is also meant to help market my work and my services. It is also something searchable which not every platform is and that is important. I also want to build a habit of batching tasks and doing things ahead of schedule.

Measures: 52 blog posts – one each week.

Actions: The first step is a google spreadsheet.

The blog post planning spreadsheet so I can hit one of my goals for 2022.

It has the week number, the date the post will be published, the title of the post, what status it is in, the link for the post once it is scheduled and then the SEO keywords for the posts.

It also has a brain dump of blog post ideas that I have then coloured in as I have slotted them into the schedule.

This helps me list out possible posts in one go, then slot them in all in one go, then think up potential keywords for SEO all at once.

Then I made a blog post template on the website so I didn’t have to do too much fiddling with formatting and I could just type straight in. All changes would be very minor ones.

After that all I have to do is just make sure that I edit the title and SEO data and the keywords till they are the best they can be for the post.

I schedule the post and get the link and paste it into the link field. I track my links this way so that I can put them in the social media planning sheet for when I have to schedule social media ahead of time and that way I have all the links right there.

Expectations: I am hoping this makes it easier for me to write a blog post and cuts down on the time I spend doing it. I am also jotting notes for some of the posts on my phone in Google Keep which also helps.

All of this also makes sure it doesn’t stay in a very nebulous form in my head and gets jotted down in some form on paper or in a file somewhere.

You can get a copy of this very bare bones simple spreadsheet with all the other content planning sheets on my Patreon.

Goal 2: Income goals for 2022


Why: There are certain things that I want to do with my finances and so bringing in more income is going to help with that. It will also help me take over more expenses and put more towards things like superannuation/401K and savings. But also I would like more income in order to put it towards the work of other creators and people.

Measures: The metric for this is to aim to earn about $2000-2500 per month. This may seem like a small amount and it is.

But I also have to remember that I can only work so many hours a week. I do not want to work overtime. I want to take breaks. I can raise my rates up to a certain amount however I cannot guarantee the level of work and income that I will get. I have to account for instability here.

If I get more than $2500 per month that would be amazing definitely. But there will be big changes to how I work if I were to get more than this really quickly which is fine and quite welcome. But when you don’t know if those changes are going to happen or not when you plan I think it is best to plan conservatively and also give you the psychological boost of hitting a goal or getting close to it.

This is a goal I set for the financial year of 2021-22 and so far I coming close to it. Hopefully I will get more work in the last six months of the year and hit this goal.

So that’s just a heads up that come the end of the Australian financial year in June 2022, I might have hit this goal and might have a new goal.

Actions: One of the first things I am doing is raising my rates for editing work. You won’t see this reflected necessarily in the hourly rate on the website but how I quote for a project and work out how much time it will take etc is going to change.

I am also going to request 10-15% superannuation on anything over $450 in a month. If I can I will include it in the quote.

I am also only going to work for .75 cents per word and up in terms of journalism work unless I can see a clear benefit for myself. Where possible I am going to aim to be paid in USD or GBP as the currency conversion works in my favour.

I am also going to take on more mentoring and manuscript assessment work rather than straight editing work (except in certain circumstances). I have already joined Kill Your Darlings who provide manuscript assessment services and I became one of their assessors a couple of months ago.

Expectations: I hope that this will help beef up the superannuation and that I will be able to earn more and balance the work a bit better between editing and journalism.

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Goal 3: Do more journalism work


Why: I am trying to balance the work I do somewhat more equally between editing and journalism. This doesn’t always work by having equal amount of hours dedicated to each per week. It depends on who says yes to giving you work especially in journalism. So there is a lot of time needed to think of story ideas and pitching them to editors.

Measures: I am going to aim for 50 pieces of journalism written a year. Last year I used a pitch tracker and worked out my success rate roughly was 12%. I think 5 pitches a week is probably my top limit so I am going to try and keep to that. I am also going to say 4/5 is also fine. That’s about 21 a month.

Actions: I am going to keep using the pitch tracker because that really helped.

I am also only going to pitch to places that pay well.

The other thing I am going to keep up is my accountability session (usually on Fridays) with another freelance journalist. This has helped us both stay on track and the personal encouragement is really great.

I also run a closed weekly pitching session (usually on Wednesday) for the Freeline mailing list and I think I am going to continue that but possibly change the time so more people can join in. I am also going to open it up to MEAA members so if you are a member and a freelancer, now is the time to make sure you are in the freelance FB group.

I also am going to run at least one pitching twitch session a week. I am not sure yet what the new schedule for Twitch will be in 2022.

Expectations: I hope this will keep making sure I have time to pitch stories so that I can write more rather than constantly having to take on editing work only.

To keep up with any writing or journalism streams I have, follow me for free on Twitch. You can also get a copy of the pitch tracker on my Patreon.

Goal 4: Build an income stream on Patreon


Why: I want to make Patreon work so that it is another income stream and then I can use the money to fund the creative writing and also to fund other creators and artists.

This goal (and a few other goals for 2022) will be a bit exploratory. As in I am going to have a lot of trial and error with this because I don’t know if there has been an instance of anyone building up an audience from scratch for book writing and journalism without first having a massive audience elsewhere.

Measures: I am going to start small with a goal of having $200 coming in every month to cover the couple of hours I spend writing my book on Twitch. I have $1.50, $3 and $7 (AUD converted from USD) tiers and so I don’t think it would take that many people at all.

Actions: I am going to plan out what I put on Patreon. So if you have been a Patron, some things may change over time. I am planning to include:

  • scenes from the current work in progress or other writing related posts
  • news and updates about what I am up to
  • posts about what it was like to pitch particular articles and how I researched and put them together
  • possibly other things like private livestreams and videos and also goodies like the pitch tracker and the blog post planning spreadsheet.

I am also going to keep spruiking it in the newsletter, Youtube videos and Twitch.

Again, Patreon is not a searchable platform – the content is not discoverable by future potential patrons. In order to get hold of them, you have to have a marketing strategy to find the people who like what you are putting out enough to pay you for it.

It’s also interesting because I am creating something but I am not sure it fills a need other than potential entertainment.

Expectations: I honestly have no idea. I expect a lot of my ideas on making this work to flop unless people don’t care what I do, they just want to support me. So we will see what happens and what works and what doesn’t.

So if anyone has any thoughts, ideas or suggestions for what you would like to pay for via Patreon, please do let me know.

And if you want to go have a look at my Patreon in the meantime and give me any feedback, please do.

Goal 5: Build up an audience on Twitch and Youtube


Why: To make information easier to find for people, to drive people to the website and Patreon, to have fun and to brush up on video editing and livestreaming skills. I think deriving an income stream from Twitch or Youtube may not happen that fast.

Measures: I am going to try for weekly livestream recordings going through to the MariStillPlays Youtube channel and a weekly gaming stream for that on the Twitch channel.

For the Marisa Wikramanayake Youtube channel there will be some streams but some recorded and edited videos. I am going to try for weekly for that as well but I will have to see what I can manage to do.

I would like to get about 100-200 followers on Twitch and become a Twitch affiliate.

Actions: Weekly livestream recordings of the Ace Attorney and other mystery games will go straight through to the Mari Still Plays Youtube channel.

For the other channel, I am not sure what the schedule will be but there will be some livestream recordings that go through to it and some recorded and edited videos.

I don’t have a new schedule for Twitch yet but I want to continue the freelancing, book writing and gaming streams.

Expectations: Again this is a bit exploratory. I expect book reviews to do the best as that seems to be what attracts people. The Sims 4 also attracts people.

If you are on the mailing list, you will get updates on the schedule as well.

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Goal 6: Post more regularly and consistently on social media


Why: As I said before there is work on platforms that isn’t inherently searchable or discoverable by anyone not subscribed or on there.

These include Patreon and Twitch. You can’t easily find other patreon accounts to follow and there is no good way of finding Twitch streamers you are interested in unless they happen to be live when you are on there.

People are finding work arounds for these so that will be something to explore.

But you also have to think about what is searchable. People can find you if you have Youtube videos. People can find you via Facebook and Twitter or sign up to a mailing list. So that is part of it.

The other reason is that I get asked to post a lot of things on my social media and I want to make sure that there is a balance between what I have to put out of my own work, actual conversations I am having with people on there and also what I am asked to promote. And I also need to build a habit of being consistent with it even if all I do is plug it all into a program to do it for me and then just engage with people who comment etc.

Measures: I am going to try and reach a goal of posting every day this year. We’ll see if I hit it. This is what I need a program for.

Actions: I have created a spreadsheet for this as well. It works with a spreadsheet for newsletter content, one for Patreon content and the blog posts spreadsheet.

This was also why I felt it important to keep the links in the sheets so that they could all be put into the social media one to see when they all get promoted on social media regardless of when they were published.

Later allows me a certain amount of posts per month so I am going to lean into that and try and schedule everything possible. I also want to see if it will do it by using a CSV file which will help a lot as well.

I also plan to try and engage as much as I can with comments and any replies.

Expectations: It will remain to be seen if people like it or not or get turned off. I think it is necessary to post a lot on Facebook Pages if you want people to see what you do. Ditto for Twitter. We will have to see how I go with the other platforms.

They will all link back to the blog, Twitch or Patreon.

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Goal 7: Keep writing


Why: I need to work out a schedule but in terms of creative writing in 2022, I have to write a stageplay, two short stories, a speculative fiction book and finish off a crime fiction book while debating whether to rewrite my literary fiction novel or not.

I need the writing habit from last year to continue. I just don’t have a schedule as yet.

Measures: The crime fiction book needs to be finished so it doesn’t matter how many words it is. I am aiming for 5000 each with the short stories. The stageplay will be as long as it needs to be and I might not be the only person writing or working on the script.

And I am going to aim for 50,000 words to start with for the new book.

Actions: I am going to run at least one stream weekly to work on my creative writing work.

Expectations: I expect to have some, not all of these things done and dusted by the end of 2022. I would like a draft of the next book to be at least started if not finished by the end of the year.

I have a lot of other goals for 2022 but we will be here forever so I will list them quickly here:

  • Get my literary novel accepted/published or possibly shelved/rewritten. One of the two. We either forget it or it goes somewhere.
  • Potentially get some part time or full time work in journalism.
  • Plan a holiday for myself in the Raffles Hotel in Singapore (I am budgeting a total spend of 5000 AUD for just one night there).
  • There are also a lot of advocacy and union related projects that I want to get done and dusted.

What are your goals in 2022? And how are you going to achieve them? What do you need? Let me know in the comments.

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