4 Digital Tools for Writers to Keep You On Track

4 Digital Tools for Writers to Keep You On Track

Productivity
I'm a paper and pencil gal. No two ways about it, I love my paper planner, colored file folders, and 4-color pen. I even have a collection of Flair markers that I use for color-coding or just...coloring. But, when it comes to staying organized in my business, I use what works best--paper or not. As a matter of fact, I've found four digital tools for writers that have revolutionized my productivity and helped me to be better at what I do. Digital Tools for Writers Have you met Trello? O.M.G. I LOVE Trello! I've tried many digital tools for writers like Evernote or OneNote and by the time I figure them out, I'm dropping them like a bad date. But not Trello. Trello's like that beach blonde, blue-eyed dreamboat at…
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4 Steps to an Organized Article Writing Process

4 Steps to an Organized Article Writing Process

Productivity
Writing a magazine article isn't rocket science. But, let's face it, some folks got it and some don't, right? Not because it's hard or a special gift or anything. But because they just need an organized approach. If you're struggling to get article assignments, or more importantly repeat assignments, from your favorite publications, follow these four steps to an organized article writing process. My foolproof organized article writing process Hone your idea Before you write anything, you must hone your idea. Honing your idea involves studying the publication you wish to pitch. It's where you choose the perfect angle for those readers, narrowing it down to fit into the required word count. It's where you cut that elephant down to a couple of steaks. When I was the editor of…
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How to Write a Regular Column: Step-by-Step

How to Write a Regular Column: Step-by-Step

Productivity
Just imagine: It's 11 pm and your column is due by 6 am the following morning. You have no earthly idea what to write about so you stare at that white screen. You find yourself nodding off, wishing you could just go to bed! This is very real, folks. Idea generation is crucial for writing a successful column and it is hard! After freelancing for magazines for a couple of years--very part time--I landed my first regular column on Natural Health Ezine writing four to eight blog posts each month. I was ecstatic! Shortly after that, I started a monthly money-saving column for my local newspaper. Then another for Christian PF (now Seed Time). Then I secured another column for From Scratch magazine. Over the years, I've written regular columns…
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How Do I Become a Freelance Writer?

How Do I Become a Freelance Writer?

Productivity
  If you've always dreamed of seeing your name in lights, or at least a byline in a magazine, but have no idea where to begin, this post is for you. Some folks just start writing stories and sending them to editors, hoping for a bite. But that is putting the cart before the horse. Magazines don't accept already-written stories. Others email editors expressing interest in writing for them but offer no ideas for stories. While this might work for a small startup publication, it's probably a long shot. If you want to break into the magazine industry, you need to have your ducks in a row before you begin communicating with editors. Let me rabbit trail a bit.   I hate using a GPS app on my phone when…
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3 New Year Planning Tips for Freelance Writers

3 New Year Planning Tips for Freelance Writers

Productivity
  If you've read this blog for a little while, you know that I am a planner addict. I have lived my life making lists and taking notes on little slips of paper. I've used planners, notebooks, 3x5 cards, Post-It notes, you name it, to organize my thoughts. I've tried digital and analog tools. I spend way too much money in the stationery aisle of any store! Thing is, none of those tools and trinkets are worth a dime if they aren't helping me to focus, get things done, or plan for the future. Generally, this time of year, folks are making resolutions of one sort or another. I don't make New Years Resolutions. But I do plan for the future. I schedule my time. I create content calendars for myself.…
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5 Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Freelance Writing Business

5 Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Freelance Writing Business

Productivity
  I recently attended a training event for a direct sales company I represent in my very spare time. My upline was speaking about growing your business and he said, "You know how some folks sign up, tell their friends about the product, they try it and love it and tell their friends, and the next thing you know that new rep is hitting platinum level? Well, that's not how it happened for us." Well, that's not how it happened for me, either, in my freelance writing. I started off very part-time. I was homeschooling the older of my six kids and my baby was only 4. We also lived a homesteading lifestyle which required many hours of gardening, animal tending, harvesting, food preservation, and property management. But I would write stories…
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The Time Management Myth–Busted

The Time Management Myth–Busted

Productivity
    When it comes to productivity, there is one myth that needs busting—the idea that you can manage your time. Everyone is given the same number of hours in a day—24. Oh, we all wish for more but that ain't gonna happen. So, folks think they need to manage the hours in their days better. Makes sense, yes? No. Oh, sure, you can quit wasting time. Stay off Facebook and do the work, yes. And you can organize the time—my work hours are 9-5 Monday through Friday. And, you can even work longer hours and quit taking vacations. But that isn't managing time; that is making a decision about what you are going to do with your time. What you can manage is your energy. And the more energy…
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Planning for Writers — Why, What, and Methods

Planning for Writers — Why, What, and Methods

Productivity
    This week I conducted a workshop for my local writers group on planning for writers. Since it went so well, I thought I'd share my top points with you here. I have always been a planner. In fact, I used to spend the greater part of my shopping hours in November-December looking for the perfect planner to use the following year. I've tried them all--from spiral bound, to three-ring, to leather-bound books. But nothing has worked for me like the Midori Traveler's Notebook and the Hobinichi Weeks. The Traveler's Notebook is simply a leather cover with elastic bands that hold removable inserts. My Midori will hold up to four inserts before I have trouble closing it. This year, I use it with my Hobinichi Weeks as one insert…
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Make Technology Your Friend

Make Technology Your Friend

Productivity
  I started my freelance career without an internet connection. And yet when I started getting assignments, and running back and forth to the library to use its internet became a hassle, I embraced learning my way around. I designed and set up my own blog. I taught myself to transfer that blog from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress site. I started another blog, and another. I took courses and read tons on SEO, keywords, metadata, social media, affiliate advertising and more. Once, an editor asked me for a certain size headshot. I didn't know a pixel from a Pekingese. So, I found out. Another editor sent me a W-9 to fill out and return--electronically. I had no idea how to do that. So I found out. As a freelance…
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Batch Writing

Batch Writing

Productivity
I write different kinds of things for various clients. I write magazine articles. Some short, some long features. I write blog posts, my own and for other blogs. And I write emails. I also edit and proofread--magazine copy, websites and blog posts. In addition to writing and editing, I have email to answer--from several accounts. I have invoicing, research, phone calls, and a myriad other job duties. How do I get it all done? In batches. Once your brain gets into a gear, it's easier to just coast in that gear than it is to switch gears, mentally. (Picture coasting in 5th on the highway versus constantly shifting between 2nd and 3rd in city traffic.) In other words, your productivity is higher if you do a batch of blog posts…
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