14 September 2009

Time Management for Freelance Writers

by Morgan Barnhart

Just seeing those words, 'time management', makes me cringe. As a freelance writer and fiction author, I am the worst when it comes to managing my time well, but I am serious about publishing my work. I tell myself that I'll accomplish all of these vast projects in one days time, but it never comes to fruition. Why is that? Because I set unrealistic goals for myself and when I don't accomplish everything I set out to do, I get frustrated and put off writing a character profile, finishing and article, or editing a chapter of my book, for a lot longer than I should.

So instead of being unrealistic, like saying I'll get up at 6AM every single day, I say I'll get up at 8AM. I can handle that. Kind of.

by cheesefetus

When it comes to writing, I'll devote 2 hours a day to it. I don't say when, I don't say what I'll write, I just have to spend a straight 2 hours a day devoted to writing whether it's freelance writing or creative writing. I can handle that. I can work it in at any point of the day but I have to do it.

When it comes to other things that I must juggle along with writing and consulting, I decide to dedicate one task to that day. If I need to get a bunch of articles written, I devote all of them to one day. Crazy, right? But they get done. If I do them sporadically, they tend not to get done as quickly since I won't have as much motivation. I know, seem backwards, but it works for me.

You need to find what works for you when it comes to time management as a freelance writer. Can you devote a couple hours a day to writing in between everything else? Can you devote one other small task to your day as well? Start small and work your way up, don't let everything boggle you down. Take your time, write a list if you must and hack at the to-do list a little at a time.

My suggestion for getting started in your organizing adventure would be to download a desktop program called Rainlendar. You can assign events and tasks for yourself right there on your desktop and it reminds you very clearly that it needs to be done, somewhere where you'll be able to see it at all times. It's a fantastic program for freelance writers or novelists and best of all, it's free!


  1. Do you use a journal?

  2. Hi Morgan,
    How do you keep motivated to doing daily writing for more than a couple weeks/months at a time? Do you find that writing articles that you'll get paid for make it easier to stay motivated? I've have times when I can do the daily writing thing for a couple of months with no problem, churning out 2,000-4,000 words a day, then something will come up or I'll hit a snag and "take a break" that lasts way, way too long!
    What's your secret for continuity?

  3. I do not use a journal, though I've been thinking about starting up a journal.

    Lyssa, my secret is to give myself a reward. Sometimes the reward can just be to take the weekend off, sometimes it can be to just chill and watch TV after I'm done writing. I give myself something to look forward to so the actual task at hand doesn't seem so daunting.

    It's definitely A-OK to take a break every now and then from the routine, life happens. But I would suggest not to take a break for longer than a week. Give yourself that motivation back by saying, "I can't do "that" unless I do "this"."

    Hope that helps!