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3 Tools to Help You Organize Your Writing

day of the deadDay of the Dead? Fall? Halloween?

Whatever you call this season, it’s almost too late for freelance writers to write end of the year articles – unless they want to hold them for next year.

While successful freelance writers have a good deal of control over their time, it’s also easy to let the seasons slip by. If your goal is to be published in one of the glossy consumer magazines you see displayed at super markets and books stores, ideas for the end of the year holidays look like an easy target.

Yes, it’s true they are hungry for good, original end of the year pieces, it’s also true that the biggest of them plan these issues as much as six months ahead.

If that’s the market you want to try, put it on your calendar to query next May, June, and July.

What about smaller publications?

Smaller and more local publications usually are more open to holiday articles starting about now – October. This is true every year.

Think about local newspapers, city magazines, trade magazines and the like. Search for blogs that pay well. If you’re crafty, any of the craft  publications are suspects. So are some of the blogs, websites and magazines that are aimed at parents and teachers.

You get the idea.

Getting organized

So much of successful freelance writing depends on being well organized. Organization is not my strongest skill, but I’ve learned to master it well enough so that I generally know what I want to be working on when.

Start with a calendar – I like Google’s because I’m at my desk and online most of the day. It’s free and with some practice amazingly flexible. It also shows up on your tablet and smart phone. Any calendar system will do – even paper ones – as long as you keep it up.

If writing for holidays is something you want to do, figure out how much lead time you need and put that in your calendar. You can, for example, mark out whole days, or several hours a day for a week or so to generate queries for year-end holidays in June. When you get an acceptance, mark your due date, and the days prior to that you’ll need to be writing on that article.

I like blocking out writing time daily, then adding specifics as they come up. It looks like this:

calendar google3

Obviously, I’m one who likes getting up early! The point, of course, is I structure my weeks with big blocks of time and add details.

Some people prefer more detail, including everything while others have a whole different approach.

The point is you can begin to organize yourself with a calendar and go from there.

Other tools

In addition to the calendar, I also use a free online program called ToDoist. It lets me track what I want to get done and what I actually get done.

Toggl is another free tool I like. It let’s me track my time. I don’t use it everyday, but I’m glad I have it. I talk about it in detail at: Time Tracking For Freelance Writers

We freelance writers can certainly set our own hours and we need to discover ways to organize them to our best advantage.

Got any organizing tips you’d like to share? Put ’em in comments please.

Write well and often,




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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Thank you for sharing this wonderful article! Four years ago I also left my job as a marketing manager in Sydney to do something I’d always dreamed of: writing and editing romance novels full time. Anyways, here are also my 8 best tips and tricks for those wanting to follow a similar path http://catehogan.com/tools_for_writers/
    Cate Hogan recently posted..Why She WritesMy Profile

  • Hi Lynn – Asana does way more than I want. I rarely collaborate – when I time projects I want to just time them so Toggl’s perfect for me. I’ve never used an anti-plagiarism program to check my own work… thanks for letting us know what you use.

  • Lynn Usrey

    Thank you for sharing these tools! I found Asana much more better than Toggl. Also don’t forget about autosave – this option has saved me tonnes of writing ideas and materials!) Also I use https://unplag.com/ to be sure I’m not wasting my time and my content is unique.

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