Working from outside a static office setting is increasing with the ability to sign in to work from multiple locations via the Internet. Many freelance content writers work from home, coffee shops or the local library. They work part-time around their children’s schedules or write at odd hours of the day when they find alone time. Freelancers can take advantage of flex time, flexible work hours in the day.
Yet the very thing that makes freelancing optimal, can cause problems for a professional writer. While flexible hours are desirable, it is possible to get so mired in the flexibility that structure and planning is lost. Therefore, if you are a freelance content writer working on your own, setting goals is a high priority.
It is easy to let goal setting slip by when you are busy. People’s lives are always full of the minutiae of living. Distractions abound in our homes, our immediate surroundings and from our connections to the world. With smartphone technology, we can be reached 24/7 through our mobile devices. The increasing number of distractions make goal setting even more important for a freelancer.
How to Set Goals
If you are new to goal setting, it is a best practice to set scheduled time aside when you won’t be interrupted to work on the process. Set aside an hour or two to brainstorm and collect your thoughts. Think about what motivates you to write. In other words, what is it that makes you continue to seek out writing assignments? What do you hope to achieve by finishing those assignments?
You may find that your motivation is as simple as making enough money to feed your family. There is no moral judgement on what motivates you. Once you know your motivation, you can figure out what your goals are for the year, month and week.
If money is your motivator, then you can calculate the total amount you need to pay your bills, and set weekly and monthly goals to achieve that amount. It is much easier to achieve a long-term goal by working on interim short-term goals.
If you are like most people, you will find that to increase your income you also need to earn a degree, get more training or work towards an industry achievement. This move up the career ladder then becomes an interim goal.
How Far to Plan
Planning goals is a skill that gets easier with repetition. Experienced planners work with a minimum of a one-year plan, and plan as far out as five to ten years. There is also a planning method of working with a rolling plan that continually updates. For those new to setting goals, it is best to start with three to six month goals, then work to expand them. Get used to setting long-term and short-term goals. After achieving a goal, celebrate and immediately start the next one. Reaching your goalpost never gets old. It gives you a confidence boost.
Paula A is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.