We all have fantastic writing goals: submitting a certain number of queries, hitting a certain word count each day, etc. These goals will make us better writers (and hopefully help us earn more), as long as we stick with them. I don’t want to sound pessimistic here — I’m only suggesting that we engage in some creative planning to make sure we remember our goals throughout 2008.
I think that the best tool a freelance writer can have is a good calendar. Whether you’re writing down a weekly goal or planning when to query certain articles, your calendar is crucial. Personally, I like using Google Calendar. (I don’t know if you still need an invite to set up a Google account — if you do, let me know and I’ll make sure you get one.)
Things I love about GCal:
- I can set up email and SMS reminders.
- I get an agenda emailed to me each morning.
- I can set up multiple calendars (Home, Queries, etc.) but only display one at a time.
- I can include as much information as I want with an ‘appointment’: I can put all the details of a query I plan to send out, notes for an appointment with a client, whatever.
Things I don’t love about GCal:
- Unlike some computer-based calendar, there is no integrated to-do function. (I use RemembertheMilk.com, which can integrate itself.)
I’m not entirely biased against paper calendars; they’re just not the best option for my personal system. My only recommendation for paper calendars is that you find one with large writing spaces. The big desk calendars available at office supply stores are good options, as is this calendar from Flylady.net.
The big question, though, is what goes on the calendar?
Personally, I put just about everything. My marketing plan gets broken up into specific actions, which are assigned a due date. Contests that I plan to enter get made into appointments. I even put little notes about 4 months before a holiday in order to query stories for those special events in a timely manner. When you’re planning out your 2008 writing calendar, you don’t have to write down every little thing, but I do encourage you to break down your goals and put them on there. You might be able to create weekly benchmarks, or determine the specific steps necessary to finish off a project.
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