Freelance Writing: Top Ten Writing Time-savers

(c) Copyright 2006 Angela Booth. All rights reserved.

Time is money for freelance writers, so the more you can streamline your writing processes the more time you save, and the more money you'll make.

I've been working as a freelancer for almost 30 years. Here are my top ten writing time-savers:

1. Mind maps - for everything

I use mind maps to help me to write, and to create time for writing. I use them to brainstorm, to schedule, to structure documents, to research - in short, I use them for just about everything.

Although I'm a fan of computer-based mind maps (I currently use NovaMind on the Mac), I also create mind maps on everything from the sticky notes to sheets of poster-board.

2. Write-think - Write, Don't Think (DDT)

DDT, for Do, Don't Think, is my favorite acronym because I used to over-analyze. Years ago, I found it was easier just to write out my thoughts. I ask myself a question on paper, or on the computer screen, then I go ahead and write an answer. I'm always surprised at the solutions I discover, just by writing.

3. Timed writing

I time many of my writing sessions. It helps me to get more done, and to write more. I set a time for ten or 15 minutes, and just write. Setting a time limit means that I produce - I don't look out of the window or check my email.

4. Blogging for easy marketing

Marketing your writing is essential, or you won't get writing work. You need to pitch stories and projects, and to make proposals to companies and agencies if you're looking for freelance writing gigs.

A blog cuts down on the need for at least 50 per cent of your marketing strategies - in fact, since I've got several blogs, I'm finding that I get writing commissions without pitching stories, and without sending out proposals. Yes, it does take time to blog. However, a blog is forever - it will stay online, marketing and selling for you, for years to come.

5. Schedules

If you don't schedule it - everything from a magazine article to a hair cut - it doesn't get done. Your schedule is your best friend.

6. Researching after the first draft

On many projects, I research AFTER I do a quick draft. This keeps me focused on the story I'm writing. I interview only those people I need to interview.

7. Writing about what I'm learning

Being a writer means always having homework, and always learning. You can save time by writing about your current enthusiasms, life style and whatever you happen to be learning. When my children were small, I wrote for parenting magazines. I continue to write for tech magazines because I'm always learning something new about computers and the Web.

8. Web sites -- easy marketing again

A Web site does your marketing for you, and it saves time when you can point people to your online portfolio.

9. Setting goals

Got goals? Set goals regularly, and revise and revisit them often. Set goals for the week, month and year. Remember that while you can set goals, you can't DO goals, so every goal needs to have tasks which lead you to accomplishment, and those tasks must be entered into your schedule.

10. Setting monetary goals

How much do you want to earn as a freelancer? Set monetary goals. If you've set monetary goals for yourself, this cuts down on decision making, because you won't write for markets which don't pay enough for you to achieve those goals.

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Angela Booth is a veteran freelance writer and copywriter. She also teaches writing. Visit her blogs - Angela Booth's Writing Blog at
http://// and Fab Freelance Writing at for daily writing inspiration and motivation. Her new ebook, "Top 70 Writing Tips To Help You To Write More," at http://www.//Write-More/write-more.html shows you that you CAN write more, write effortlessly, and enjoy writing.