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6 Musts For The Successful Freelance Writer’s Office

Freelance Writer Home OfficeWhen you’re serious about freelance writing there are 6 things you absolutely must have for function well.

Oh sure, there are lots of other things that are nice to have, like acres of room and fancy filing systems, and maybe an espresso machine. You’ll get there. But in the beginning here are the basics:

  1. A place to write. This may seem obvious, and maybe it is, but where you’re going to do your freelance writing deserves some thought. The kitchen table will work if it must, but you’ll make yourself happier and more productive if you can carve out a permanent space, no matter how small. You don’t need the distraction of setting up every time you want to write. Consider a tiny table in your bedroom or the corner of your living room. Maybe one of those cabinets that allows you to shut the doors on any mess is possible. Get creative and create a space of your own.
  2. The right equipment. The computer, printer, phone and internet connection are obvious. Pay attention to ergonomics too. Seriously. You can do long-term physical damage to yourself, and as a result to your freelance writing career, but it’s mostly avoidable just by paying attention and making some adjustments.
  3. Your own website. I want to shout this one. You simply must have your own website – because it’s where people who want to pay you for your writing are looking for you. You need your own domain name – I use 1and1 to both buy domains and host sites. Consider using WordPress as a way to upload and manage your content. If you hire someone to develop your site for you insist on WordPress or some other content management system that makes it super easy for you to do the updates.

  4. Social media accounts. Properly used social media will help you build a community of writers and clients. Start with TWitter, move on to FaceBook, Linkedin, and maybe reddit.com
  5. Business cards. Business cards help you feel like you’re in business and give people you meet in the real world a way to get back to you. Your card should make it clear what you do and how to reach you.
  6. Something lovely. Every successful office needs a treasure or two. Maybe it’s a lovely view, or a sacred statue, or pictures of friends and/or family. Maybe it’s some small display you change from time-to-time. Something that just plain makes you feel good.

And if you’re one of those who loves to write in a coffee shop? Well, you also need to come home sometime. Then you’ll need your home office setup properly.

What’s in your office?

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Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • jorgekafkazar

    What’s in my office? Too much stuff. 2 printers, CPU, monitor, incense, calculator, chromebook, a newish bookcase, paper cutter, 10 cans or broken mugs full of pens & brushes & such. A small, mottled green & white 1″ sphere found at the botanic gardens. A copy of “Winnie the Pooh,” inscribed with my name and “Christmas 1944” by my dad in his best calligraphy. New copies of my novel.

    • Lovely… especially the Winnie the Pooh.

      • jorgekafkazar

        Thank you, Anne. AFAIK, I wasn’t quite reading by Christmas of ’44, so I’m touched by my father’s taking the time to insert a bookplate and then neatly pen that inscription on it for a five-year-0ld. And on its twin, “When We Were Very Small,” which I also still have by some quirk of family history.

        • Jorge, I know you’re smart… didn’t expect you to be reading Winnie the Poo then… I just love the story and am so glad you remember, have a book with a book plate and shared it with us.

  • Having an office that you can get work done in is so important! Don’t overlook the importance of having things you love in your office. I have a playful side, so I have some action figures and a few Beanie Babies around. It’s also important to have a filing system that works for you – and your reference materials close at hand.
    Ronda Bowen recently posted..Hiring a Consultant for the First Time? Here Are Some TipsMy Profile

    • Good points, Ronda – my office looks out on a lovely canyon and I have a Ganesh statue on my desk among the more typical stuff, plus some pix on the wall I love

  • From an ergonomic perspective, I’m very glad to hear that desk isn’t yours. Its owner is likely to experience some very unpleasant repercussions from trying to use a desk 3 inches too high and type on a laptop a foot too far away, on a raised platform with no external keyboard! Ouch!
    Jason recently posted..Evoluent Vertical Mouse ReviewMy Profile

  • jorgekafkazar

    I need to improve my space. There’s no place to make notes by hand and sketch timelines and stage designs. Fruthtrating, ithn’t it?

    • Jorge, just knock out a wall or two and you’ll be all set – yeah, I know how frustrating it can be to get the office right.

  • Miranda B.

    Books, books and more books. I have a shelf with a couple of my favorite marketing and writing books. I refer to them from time to time. I also have a delightful little dog who sleeps under my desk.

    Great post, Anne…thanks for sharing these tips.
    Miranda B. recently posted..How to Make Facebook Work for Your Small BusinessMy Profile

  • My office is in the back, but I rarely use it. It’s a combination office/craft/sewing room crammed with stuff. I don’t have a good chair either. Most everything I do is done on the couch with my laptop. Since I sit in a chair at work all day, it’s SOOO nice to lie down!

    I wrote a blog post about outside offices, here http://aelizabethwest.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/office-space-relocated/. Taking a computer back and forth means I have to make sure I have what I need with me.

    I like number 6. You have to have something nice to look at when you are resting your eyes from the screen. 🙂

    • Elizabeth, as long as you protect your back, neck and wrists where you right doesn’t matter.

  • It’s funny—I planned to write a post on this exact topic and I just hadn’t gotten to it yet. Great minds think alike, huh? You covered all of the points that I would have, and with much better wording. Now I can just retweet it instead 🙂

    I have all of these in my office except #6. I was thinking of some photos of places I’d like to travel one day, though I must say the soothing music sounds even better. Thanks for the great post!
    L.C. Gant recently posted..To Query or Not to QueryMy Profile

    • You’re welcome… and no real reason you can’t have both pix and music.

    • Ecnomioes are in dire straits, but I can count on this!

  • I will add that for me, natural lighting is a MUST. The eyestrain from both artificial lighting and the computer screen can make your eyes want to shut down. I had this once when I’d work too long and everything would go white. Headaches are reduced when no glaring light is present also.

    And you get an honest account of the weather outside the window 🙂
    Bill Swan recently posted..How Writing for Money Makes You Forget Why You are Writing to Begin WithMy Profile

  • I agree with your selections. I’d add music. Music within arm’s reach or on your computer. I also like having a door I can shut. And a sleeping dog or cat is optional but cozy.

  • no, absolutly not… that desk has nothing in common with my paper-strewn, coffee cup and coffee ring, sewing machine, pen, and more covered desk… I promise.

    I’ll bet your spa corporate office had at least one incandescent light or natural light.

  • Please tell me that nice, neat desk isn’t yours, Anne. 🙂

    I’m glad to say I have all 6-heavy on #6-LOL!! I have a great view and all kinds of what my older sister calls neat junk. Another MUST have for me are my soothing CDs. When I was in Corporate America, one of my bosses told me that when she walked into my office it reminded her of a spa. No, I did not have a hot tub or masseuse…hmmm…something to strive for. 🙂
    Cathy Miller recently posted..Posts This Week- Friday Lite ReviewMy Profile

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