Five Ways to Give Your Writing Career a Fresh Start

Whether it's the New Year, the new school year, or simply a new you, there are times when writers tend to start over or re-focus on their writing careers with new energy and vigor. Here are five ways to give your freelance writing career a fresh start.

1
Clean Out Bookmarks, RSS, or Other Blog Feeds

Image courtesy of SXC user Legendsweb.

As a freelance writer who works virtually, your blog and writing friends are your virtual water cooler. Make sure the blogs you visit regularly are nurturing you. Do you get actionable steps? Do you find valuable freelance writing jobs? Are you active in the genre? Consider adding one or two new blog feeds, perhaps in a genre you'd like to explore, or maybe the blog of a editor or publisher, as opposed to writer's blogs. In addition, get rid of the ones you simply never visit: that's just noise and empty emails that you don't need. Design a water cooler team that feeds your soul; both the new perspective and empty feeds will feel refreshing! 

2
Polish Off Your Reading List

Books make great gifts.
Books make great gifts for writers or readers.. Courtesy of BB Stock.exchg

I'm not sure I "believe in" feng shui, but I do know that unread piles of books, magazines and papers sitting around my office make me nervous. And anxious. A fresh start entails catching up on your reading list. Magazines like Writer and Poets & Writers are excellent selections to read monthly for fresh ideas and new instruction, but they don't do you any good if they pile up and cause anxiety. Stay caught up! It feels so much better. And, if you can't, perhaps you should reconsider those subscriptions.

3
Polish Up Your Resume

A writing job resume is your first step to getting freelance writing jobs.. (c) Stock Xchange

Update your resume so that it's ready to send off when you see that juicy copywriting gig. Add not only freelance writing jobs that you've recently completed, but also style systems that you've mastered, books that you've reviewed, or new skills that you've learned. Go through your calendar, notes, saved emails and paperwork to capture any workshops, conferences or conventions that you attended over the past years. Don't forget webinars or call-in trainings!

4
Pare Down Your Pitch List

Many writers have some kind of list or way that they track ideas they'd like to pitch to magazines or newspapers. What would happen if you pared down that list? What would happen if you concentrated solely on your very best ideas? How might that improve your career? How might you better use your free time?

5
Catch Up All Recording Activities

Make money writing.
How To Make Money Writing. copyright iStockphoto.com

Whenever a writer asks me how to set rates, I insist that they know about how many hours a project takes them. If you haven't already done it, set up a simple spreadsheet in which you record project and hours. This gives you means to calculate the duration of your most common project types. Of course, all writers should also have a record of expenses out versus revenue in, which is needed for taxes. Catch up all of these recording activities so that your new start is as fresh as can be!

Bonus Tip: Make Your Environment Work for You

If you've got the time and effort, consider a revamp of your home office, too. Making your environment work for you can help you beat distraction and procrastination.

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