Quick and Dirty Tips for the Freelancer


I collect tips. Small, sometimes insignificant little gems that don’t mean much alone but in a list look pretty nifty. For your hump-day enjoyment, I offer the following:

1. A tall skinny coffee mug keeps your coffee hot longer than a short fatty. I didn’t believe it either til I tested it. It’s true.

2. Keep a jug of water on your desk to stay hydrated. Most of us don’t drink enough water. My solution: keep a jug that holds the daily requirement of water on my desk. If it’s there you’re more likely to drink it rather than lifting your lazy butt out of the chair and walking all the way to the kitchen for something else. Also, buy a humidifier. They’re cheap and replace the moisture that heaters and electronics suck out of the air.

3. Take a walk every hour. Really even if it’s just up and down the block it will refresh you, get a little blood circulating and maybe help prevent writer’s spread. Just set your phone to go off every hour and go.

4. Get the hell out of your jammies and take a shower. We all love working from home because we can work in our jammies or ratty sweats and nobody sees our bedhead hair, right? Except you, every time you pass a mirror. I promise if you get up, take a shower and put on some normal clothes you’ll feel more alert, probably be more productive and won’t scare the UPS guy either.

5. Give crap away. Most of us have too much crap. Not because we’re one-percenters but because everything is so available. I can tell you right now that half the stuff I own I don’t need, don’t use and is gathering dust in a closet somewhere. We avail ourselves too easily of shopping therapy when we’re feeling, bored, blue or denied. I say eat an apple instead. Plus crap equals clutter, equals a space that’s hard to work in, equals dust mites and more cleaning. Find your local thrift store, charity or homeless center and cart your crap over there. If you have a lot they might even send a truck.

6. Convert your files into eBook formatsCalibre  is free, easy to use and kind of fun too. The latest version enables you to do some light editing too. I use it to get a feel for how my books will look in the format and also for sending to beta readers so they can read the drafts on the eReaders rather than a big clumsy Word doc that has to be read on a computer. For actual publication though I recommend you find an eBook formatting professional.

7. Got the winter blues? Get a full spectrum lighting lamp. When they first came out they were expensive as hell but now you can get a decent one for about $100. That may seem like a lot for a lamp but these babies mimic actual daylight, which your body needs by the way, and can help chase away the winter blues. Also if you love sunlight like I do then it’s a no brainer.

8. Head stuff. Working from home has a lot of pluses but also a few drawbacks. You spend a lot of time alone. There aren’t others around to cheer you up or make you laugh or even notice if your breathing sounds right. A lot of alone time can easily dwindle into thinking time. That’s fine if it’s productive – if not, it will just mess with you. Therefore stop thinking/worrying about shit you can’t or aren’t prepared to do anything about. It will only give you a stomach ache and disturb your bliss.

9. If there is a way to screw things up, you will find it. Especially if you try really really hard not to screw up. It’s a fact of life – accept it, figure out how to fix it and move on. Don’t wallow in it or be embarrassed by it – nobody cares that you screwed up but you. You know why? Because they’re screwing up too. We all screw up. Every one of us. Figure out how to learn from mistakes and move the hell on.

10. Nobody owes you a living. Nobody owes you a review. Nobody owes you a job or a gig. Nobody owes you their time or energy. Unless you’ve provided a product or service for which they agreed to pay or otherwise exchange. So stop acting like you’re a victim because you didn’t get something you wanted. Just go out and get it. Yeah it’s hard. Yeah it will take some effort and work. But that’s how everybody else does it, why should you be any different?

11. Get off the maybe train and commit. You have a dream? You have a goal? Well I hate to break it to you but daydreaming will not make it so. Believe me, I am the queen of daydreams and I never got anything I wanted from daydreaming. You want to be a writer? Then guess what? You have to write. You want to be an entrepreneur? Likewise you gotta go out there and entrepreneur. Things don’t just happen because you want them. They happen because you commit to making them happen and you refuse to ever fucking give up. I know it sucks but it’s still true.

12. When you commit things do just happen (or seem to). It’s sad but people really don’t get that the answer to all the many things they want in life is about commitment. How many times have you tried and failed? And how many times have you just said, “That’s it! I’m doing this no matter what!” and somehow magically made it happen? See the difference?

13. Everybody looks good in pink and turquoise. Not together of course (well, maybe). But for some reason those colors flatter everybody. Seriously.

14. All of us have something to offer the world. Find it and offer it. You’ll be amazed by how glad people are that you did.

As always feel free to add to the list.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

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