Luddite No More – Tech Tips for Freelancers

yellWhat should you do when your computer crashes into the dreaded blue screen while you are working on a writing assignment?

  1. Shout a streak of obscenities that would make a sailor blush
  2. Collapse in a torrent of tears and seek comfort in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s
  3. Hurl the screen across the room and enjoy the sounds of breakage
  4. Activate your emergency backup plan so that the assignment gets submitted before your deadline.

Obviously, the answer here is all of the above.

Many writers start out with the romantic notion of sitting down with a plume pen and a leather-bound journal to scrawl their thoughts. The reality of freelancing looks a lot more like juggling an outdated PC and a smartphone to get work done as efficiently as possible. There’s little room for luddites in the freelancing game. Knowing how to use technology to streamline your workday and how to react when the gremlins inside the computer decide you need some time off is just as much a part of the job as finding freelance jobs online and completing writing assignments.

Back it up

Whether it’s your latest content assignment, your writing samples or your income tracking spreadsheet, if you can’t afford to lose it you need a redundancy system in place. Unless you enjoy spending hours recreating your masterpiece after a hard drive crash, your current writing assignment should be stored in a cloud-based storage system as well as on your machine. An external hard drive or a thumb drive is also a handy spot to keep backup copies of critical files.

Get your computer vaccinated

Freelance writers find themselves on all sorts of websites in the name of research. The best way to avoid picking up a nasty virus is to avoid sketchy sites and trash questionable emails without opening them.  But, you should also install a high-quality antivirus program. New viruses, worms and malware hit the Internet daily, so be sure to keep your antivirus protection updated.

Wait for that update

Keeping your state-of-the-art smartphone on the cutting edge means installing updates to the operating system.  Technophiles are usually champing at the bit to install the latest update, but that enthusiasm can lead to frustrations. Occasionally, operating system updates come with bugs and errors. Plus, your favorite apps may not work well in the new system. Waiting a few days or weeks after an update is released gives developers a chance to work out the kinks before you dive in.

Have a contingency plan

Deadlines don’t stop when your devices go kaput. To keep your work flowing and your income stream humming, have a backup plan in case your computer or wifi decides to take the day off. Think about the places near you, such as a friend’s house or a library where you could use a computer to complete an assignment or contact clients. Then, make a list of alternate ways to access the Internet, such as a coffee shop or a mobile hotspot that works on cellular data

Writer Bio: Michelle S is a fulltime writer who is addicted to all things Apple.  She once went phone-free for ten days after loosing hers in an airport.  She is currently writing a horror story about the experience.


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