Your 2008 Calendar, Part 2: Budgeting Your Time

Yesterday, I posted about the mechanics of planning your writing calendar. I have more to say, however, so here’s part two.

Is your goal for 2008 monetary? How much do you need to earn per month to meet your goal? Per week? Per day? I’d like to suggest that you put your goals on your calendar. When you meet them, you have the satisfaction of crossing them off. When you don’t, you have an opportunity to re-motivate yourself. The same idea works if you have a certain number of words you want to write or certain number of hours you want to work.

These goals are perfect for helping you budget out your time, and planning out your calendar. A lot of freelance writers have weeks that they wind up with an overwhelming amount of work and weeks where they have no work at all. Planning ahead can help you knock out some of that work in advance, especially if you already have time budgeted for it. I know I run into plenty of situations where I know I have long-term projects, but don’t have any immediate due dates. I try to knock out work on those long-term projects in that ‘spare’ time.

I also try to plan out what I might be writing about. I often get assignments on similar topics. I try not to work on those assignments back to back: I can get a little bored with the subject and I worry about pieces sounding too similar. However, I know plenty of writers that want to pound out an entire series of articles on a single topic in a row. That way, they can avoid stepping out of a certain mindset. No matter which approach you prefer, writing down when you plan to work on a given project — not just the due date — can help you organize your topics. Now, I know you can’t plan all the way out to September, or whenever, but you can get in the habit of planning now, and keep it up throughout the year.

I also have certain hours that I prefer to work. I have those hours blocked off on my calendar, so that I put as few appointments and other obligations in my work time as possible. 9-to-5-ers don’t have the option of leaving their desks to go pick up milk, and I try to minimize similar issues. I’m not perfect about it, but my calendar helps me do my best.

I firmly believe that every freelance writer has to find the system that works the best for her. However, I just as firmly believe that no system doesn’t count. Even a small amount of organization can help a freelance writer make the most of her time and abilities, and make the most of her career, whether her goals are financial or otherwise.

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  1. Jenn Hollowell   •  

    This is a great post! I love organization and using organizational tools. My favorite is Julie Hood’s Side-Tracked Writer’s Planner – talk about a goal oriented writer’s dream! She used to give it away at her site ( when people signed up for her newsletter, but I’m not sure if she still does or not.

  2. thursday   •     Author

    After a little investigation, it looks like Julie Hood still has a free calendar up: this is a great little tool! I’ll just have to convince her to turn it into a Google Calendar!

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