Post author Linda Formichelli is a top freelance writer and also a den mother alongside Carol Tice at the Freelance Writers Den.
Take It Away Linda…
People always ask me how I get so much done: I’m a highly diversified writer who is the main breadwinner for her family, I teach online courses, and I’m the mom of an active 3-year-old.
My secret? ADHD.
Let me back up. I do have ADHD, and as a consequence I have trouble focusing on any one project for more than a couple of minutes at a time. So I’ve adapted by finding tiny tasks that I can fit into the multiple tiny spaces I have throughout my day as I jump from project to project. So even when I’m not working on the project at hand, I’m making progress towards my goals.
You can do the same, and you don’t even need to have ADHD. Here are quick actions you can take whenever you have a few minutes that will help you get more writing work.
1. Send a letter of introduction to a trade magazine or custom publication.
You do have a template you can tweak, right?
2. Send a thank-you note to an editor, client, interview source, or another writer.
These not only show your gratitude, but they also keep you top-of-mind when someone is looking for a writer to assign work to.
3. Update your LinkedIn profile.
Whenever I update my LinkedIn profile, it seems to garner more attention than usual. So add a few samples or change up your CV.
4. Find and follow five editors on Twitter.
Check out MuckRack for editors (and journalists) to follow by publication.
5. Post your latest writing assignment (with a link) on Twitter.
If any of those editors you followed are following you back, they may see a good example of your work.
6. Read a blog post or article to build new writing or marketing skills.
I’ve been writing full-time since 1997, and I still learn from other writers and marketers.
7. Post a helpful comment on a blog or forum in your industry…
to help build your credentials as an expert.
8. See who’s visited your LinkedIn profile…
and send them a note asking of they need a writer.
9. When you’re followed on Twitter by a local business, ask if they need a writer.
I did this last year and landed a local hospital client — and a few thousand dollars worth of work.
10. Find and download a book on marketing or writing to your Kindle, iPad, Nook, or other e-reader.
I love marketing books and I also love having the ability to zap a book onto my iPad in about five seconds.
11. Clean your workspace.
Getting your freelance writing workspace clean and organized — even only 2 minutes worth — can give you a boost of energy and inspiration. Some quick ideas: Clean your keyboard with a can of air, clear the unneeded books from your bookshelves, or test your pens and throw out the non-working ones.
12. Change your computer desktop wallpaper…
to a photo or saying that inspires your writing.
13. E-mail a local writer you admire and…
ask if you can take her out to coffee.
14. Post to a writers’ forum…
like the Freelance Writers Den looking for a goal buddy to help support you and ease the loneliness of writing solo.
15. Look through your records and follow up via e-mail on…
queries and letters of introduction you haven’t received responses to.
16. Add your recent clips to your writer website.
My Freelance Writers Den partner, Carol Tice, is all about having as many clips as possible on your site because you never know which one will turn on an editor.
17. Sign up for an e-course on writing or marketing.
If you don’t want to shell out the cash, there are plenty of free ones.
18. Have an article assignment?
Quick: Post to Help a Reporter asking for sources to interview. Nailing down sources for interviews is one of the most time-consuming parts of freelance writing, so it’s good to get a head start.
19. I’ll bet you have a list of blog post ideas you plan to write up…
You can’t do that in two minutes, but how about scouring your favorite photo source (mine is iStockPhoto) for images you can post with them?
20. Check your income records and follow up on late payments.
Dash off a quick note asking your editor or client to “check the check.”
21. Brainstorm a title for an article or blog post you have in the works.
Sometimes it helps to think up titles outside of the actual writing process so you don’t feel too pressured.
22. Search for groups in your area related to the industry you write in and…
shoot a note to the organizer asking if you can give a talk on a writing topic.
23. Retweet a helpful industry post on Twitter.
This helps cement your reputation as an expert.
24. Lie down on the floor and meditate.
Seriously. Even a quick om-session will help refresh you and renew your inspiration and energy for the writing work ahead.
25. See how many e-mails you can answer in five minutes.
Get right to the point and type as fast as you can. Think of how great it will feel when you’re down to “In-box Zero”!
About the Freelance Writers Den
What do YOU do when you have a few minutes in between projects, or when you can’t focus and want to jump from task to task? Please share your ideas in the Comments below.