Freelance Blog + writing

New Year, New Resolutions

Now that the confetti is cleaned up and the champagne fully consumed, it's time to think about ways to improve your business (and possibly yourself) in 2009.

But before we do that, let's take a moment to reflect on 2008. Michelle Rafter has a great post about analyzing your freelance income. I originally told Michelle that I'd post my own percentages for 2008, but my graph didn't turn out as nicely as hers did, so I'll just summarize instead. A little less than half my income came from copywriting, a quarter from writing for websites, and the rest from magazines, newspapers, anthologies, reprints, and other miscellaneous projects.

This is good information to know as I'm targeting new markets and clients in 2009. But frankly, I think money goals are overrated. I'd love to significantly increase my income this year (wouldn't we all?), but given the current climate, it's probably better to focus on other goals. If I can maintain last year's income and work a little less (by boosting my productivity and landing higher paid projects), I'll be quite content.

Here are my other goals:

  • Spend at least two days per month on creative projects. Towards the end of 2008, I started devoting Thursdays to writing essays (too much happens on Fridays). Giving myself time to work on long-neglected projects felt great (and it paid off, too), but then I landed some bigger projects that demanded more urgent attention and the essays fell by the wayside. I'd like to reestablish this pattern in 2009 and publish more essays, maybe even start writing a book...
  • Listen to my instincts more. I got burned by clients several times this year and each time I had reservations before starting the project. Another time I turned down a project and the publication failed soon after, leaving its writers in the lurch. Had I paid attention to my gut more often, I would have been able to spend less time ranting and more time writing.
  • Cultivate long-term relationships. Editorial relationships, that is. I have several regulars (some more regular than others), but this year I also wrote one-offs for close to two dozen clients and publications! It's great to diversify, but keeping track of all those invoices, contact emails, and style guides takes a LOT of time. I'd love to land another ongoing blogging gig or a montly newsletter client to even out my income and my schedule. I also need to be better about querying editors right after I finish that first assignment while I'm fresh in their minds.
  • Find inner peace. Yeah, right! I think I'll save that one for 2010.
Several other writer/bloggers posted their resolution tips here, here, here, and here. What about you? What are your goals or tips for success?

Flickr photo courtesy of Sarah DeForche

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New Year, New Resolutions + writing