What exactly is in a freelance writer’s tool belt? Unfortunately, there isn’t exactly an Ikea flat-pack available to us. However, there are a few essentials that no writer – in my humble opinion – should be without.
1. An Organiser
Whether it’s an old-school diary or a hi-tech app, some kind of organisation master is essential for the self-employed. It’s easy to think you only need a day or two for a job, but when you start factoring in other work, responsibilities and general life, you may find yourself short on time. Save yourself the hassle of emailing an employer saying; ‘it’s going to take a couple more days’, and use an organiser. I recommend the Bullet Journal system for people who like things on paper and Monday App for those who prefer things online.
2. A Website
Once upon a time, business cards were all the rage. Now, if you don’t have a website, you don’t exist to many employers. Make it simple or make it flashy, it doesn’t matter as long as you have a presence on this ol’ internet thing. I recommend WordPress for freelancers that like to share regular updates and Wix for those wanting a simple landing page.
Time and time again people tell us, things go wrong sometimes. And, time and time again we nod politely and ignore them Well, here I am telling you again, things go wrong! Make sure you have a back-up of the projects you’re working on, whether they’re saved in cloud storage or on a hard-drive. Don’t make the mistake of losing a lot of time, money and good customer relationships because you split your coffee on your laptop. Try OutLook’s OneDrive or Mega‘s impressive 50GB of free storage.
4. A Social Life
Everyone says, we can be our own worst critic, but no one mentioned that we can also be our own worst boss. Freelancers often find themselves working more hours and more weekends than they ever did in a regular office job. Treat your number one employee well – that’s Y-O-U by the way – and make sure they get the break they need.
5. A Super-Simple Word Counter
Sometimes all you need is a distraction free screen or a neat and tidy writing app. My favourite app for stories is ANovelIdea and my number one app for article writing is Google Chrome’s Writer. If you need something a bit stricter, SelfControl will block apps and websites that will distract you from writing, even rebooting your device won’t stop it! FocusWriter will also block out all the tabs that may ou’re you away from writing. Good luck for coming with excuses to procrastinate now…
There are tonnes of writing magazines available whether you like old-fashioned paper copies or digital deliveries. A monthly subscription to a few brand new writing articles can make reading about writing a treat rather than a chore. Or, you can even subscribe to magazines that champion other writing talent to get some inspiration. I’m personally subscribed to the classic Writer’s Digest magazine but there are loads of other options.
7. A Room of One’s Own
As easy as it is to make your bed your work station and your pyjamas your uniform, it’s much more appealing (and productive) to have a proper office. For those of us that don’t have as much space as we want, fear not! There are plenty of options for mini studies and tiny offices. All you need is a few bits of extra storage, a small work surface and voila!
8. Print-Outs of Your Job Description
For everytime someone asks you, ‘so, what exactly do you do then?’