How I Organized My New Freelancing Life

My savior

My savior

I love google.  Seriously, is there anything you can’t do through them?

As a newbie part time freelance writer, I needed a system that was easy, quick and accessible from both my day job and home. Googie turned out to be my best bet.

Gmail: Easy search feature, no limit and hasn’t crashed on me yet.

Calendar: For all my scheduling needs and deadlines.

Notebook: For all my random thoughts throughout the day at work. I can just go home and organize it whenever.

Documents: I edit, upload, edit, upload–no matter where I am.

I might need a more sophisticated level of bookkeeping in the future, but for now this works perfectly.

What do the rest of you use and any good organizing pointers/tips?

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Waiting is the hardest part

I know all the rules. I know editors get a million emails a day, a lot of which are queries. I also editors tend to go with writers they already know. But, out of all the pitches I’ve sent out recently and all the times I’ve followed up, how hard is it for even one editor to say a simple no to my query? Now, I’m not sure if I should already pitch the stories elsewhere or just wait. One of them is a very timely piece so that makes me more restless!

The only success I’ve had are with two editors I already know. No one else has responded to me. I know I’m a new writer and that I just have to keep trying but it makes me nervous that perhaps my ideas aren’t as good as I think they are or that my pitch letters suck.

How many letters did you send out before you got an assignment?

Being an online editor ain't that hard

keyboard

I never meant to be a web editor, it sort of just happened to me. At my first magazine internship, I was assigned to the web editor although I knew nothing about Content Management Systems or how to edit content on a website. After that, I continued to get web internships with only a couple of print experiences in the middle and when I applied for jobs after graduating, the only responses I got were from magazine websites or online magazines.

It’s a well known fact that most magazines and newspapers resisted the digital publishing movement as long as they could’ve,  so when I graduated 2.5 years ago, my skills were highly coveted even if online journalism wasn’t yet considered ‘glamorous’. But, in two years a lot has changed. I had friends at print magazines who felt sort of bad for the fact that I had to work online because I couldn’t get a job in print and I also had friends and family members outside of publishing that didn’t really understand what I was doing because my name wasn’t on the masthead of a big-time publication that they recognized.

But now I have more and more people asking me how to get into online journalism and most people seem to think that I’m this tech wiz (even fellow online editors!) when in reality I just recently learned keyboard shortcuts! What I do know is how to assess the usability of a good website and how to get around Content Management Systems and how to promote traffic and that’s all through pure experience.

A part of my duties at my new job is figuring out all the kinks of our brand new website and I am amazed every day at how much I actually know. CMS’s have come a long way from the first one I worked on at my first internship, (everything had to be hand-coded in HTML!) and it really isn’t that tough to become a web editor.

Even after my first full time job as an editorial assistant at a national magazine’s website, I was dying to work in print. After I got laid off, I freelanced for a huge women’s magazine and all my fantasies about a glamorous print job were dispelled.

Here are all the reasons why I’m glad I fell into online journalism:

It pays a hell of a lot better.This might start to change as more and more journalists pick up web skills but as for now any online experience works in a much better paycheck.

You can gain experience quickly.Since websites are updated much more frequently than publications are, there’s always a need for new content. Even as an EA, I had a ton of work published simply because I was available to do it.

More room for creativity. Slideshows, blogs, videos, articles, quizzes, polls–there are so many ways to produce content and the more you know about multimedia the better!

More jobs are available. If I was still looking for a print job, I’d still be sustaining on unemployment checks. The online craze has only recently just started to catch on so not that many people are qualified yet. On top of that, there are more jobs created in new media than anywhere else.

More freelance opportunities. If you’ve worked as a magazine web editor, you can also get work copywriting retail and business websites.

Being an online editor ain’t that hard

keyboard

I never meant to be a web editor, it sort of just happened to me. At my first magazine internship, I was assigned to the web editor although I knew nothing about Content Management Systems or how to edit content on a website. After that, I continued to get web internships with only a couple of print experiences in the middle and when I applied for jobs after graduating, the only responses I got were from magazine websites or online magazines.

It’s a well known fact that most magazines and newspapers resisted the digital publishing movement as long as they could’ve,  so when I graduated 2.5 years ago, my skills were highly coveted even if online journalism wasn’t yet considered ‘glamorous’. But, in two years a lot has changed. I had friends at print magazines who felt sort of bad for the fact that I had to work online because I couldn’t get a job in print and I also had friends and family members outside of publishing that didn’t really understand what I was doing because my name wasn’t on the masthead of a big-time publication that they recognized.

But now I have more and more people asking me how to get into online journalism and most people seem to think that I’m this tech wiz (even fellow online editors!) when in reality I just recently learned keyboard shortcuts! What I do know is how to assess the usability of a good website and how to get around Content Management Systems and how to promote traffic and that’s all through pure experience.

A part of my duties at my new job is figuring out all the kinks of our brand new website and I am amazed every day at how much I actually know. CMS’s have come a long way from the first one I worked on at my first internship, (everything had to be hand-coded in HTML!) and it really isn’t that tough to become a web editor.

Even after my first full time job as an editorial assistant at a national magazine’s website, I was dying to work in print. After I got laid off, I freelanced for a huge women’s magazine and all my fantasies about a glamorous print job were dispelled.

Here are all the reasons why I’m glad I fell into online journalism:

It pays a hell of a lot better.This might start to change as more and more journalists pick up web skills but as for now any online experience works in a much better paycheck.

You can gain experience quickly.Since websites are updated much more frequently than publications are, there’s always a need for new content. Even as an EA, I had a ton of work published simply because I was available to do it.

More room for creativity. Slideshows, blogs, videos, articles, quizzes, polls–there are so many ways to produce content and the more you know about multimedia the better!

More jobs are available. If I was still looking for a print job, I’d still be sustaining on unemployment checks. The online craze has only recently just started to catch on so not that many people are qualified yet. On top of that, there are more jobs created in new media than anywhere else.

More freelance opportunities. If you’ve worked as a magazine web editor, you can also get work copywriting retail and business websites.

All over the place

I struggle with organization. I really do. I knew freelancing on top of a full-time job would be no piece of cake, but I had no idea it would be this hard. Then again, I think I should give myself a break. I was unemployed for months with a few freelance gigs here and there and I’ve recently just gotten back to the work force, in full steam. On top of that, the holiday season just ended, so this is really the my first full week of work.

I’m trying to juggle way too many things at the same time. There’s so much I want to accomplish, yet so little time. I have so many ideas; I’m just having trouble executing them. I try not to think about my freelance projects during work hours, since I want to keep this great job, but it’s hard not to!

Meanwhile, I’ve sent out two really good queries (one to an editor who reached out to me!) and still haven’t heard back. What gives? I’ve contacted the right editors and my pitch letters are pretty good. I’ve followed up twice already. How hard is it to say a simple yes or no? It’s been more than five weeks that I sent out the first pitches and I’m ready to pitch the stories elsewhere, but I’m not sure what I should do.

One thing I’m really struggling with is how to know what the lead times are for magazines. Websites are a bit easier, but I’m struggling with the magazines. The easiest thing would be just to call the magazine, but I have a hard time doing that because I’m at work during the day.

Being productive as not as easy as it sounds!

2009 is finally here

First and foremost, Happy New Year!

I have a habit of delaying my goals. I lay out my plans but then I’ll specify a certain time to get started on them and by then there are usually other things that come up. But, not this year. This year, I vow to instantaneously get started on my projects and follow them through to the best of my ability. Here are a few of my goals for 2009:

– Start the process to become an MFA student in 2010.

– Make a decision about my relationship and stick to it.

– Make a dent in the weight loss process that I’ve been lusting over for the past four years.

– Get tons of national clips and get published in at least one of my favorite magazines.

What are your goals this year?