5 Ways for Writers to Get Organized for the New Year

For freelance writers, the last two weeks of the year are typically the quietest, with many editors away from their desks for the holiday break. Make the most of this “slow period” to strategize for the year ahead, with 2019 just around the bend.

One of the best ways for freelance writers to achieve success is to get organized, and a new year is the perfect opportunity to start off with a clean slate. Here are 5 easy ways for freelance writers to get organized for 2019:

1. Organize your work space.

I'm always at my most productive, with my clearest goals in mind, when I'm operating from a desk that's tidy and in order. Spend some time organizing and decluttering your work space – clean out desk drawers, tuck papers into folders, apply labels as needed, and toss whatever you can.

2. Clean up your digital workspace, too. 

Your virtual workspace is just as important as your physical one. Take some time to do some “weeding” by cleaning up and organizing all of those accumulated digital files: articles, blog posts, invoices, story notes, worksheets, pitches, etc. Place files into sensible folders, and if you don’t need 'em, trash 'em – you'll be surprised at how good a little filing and purging can feel! If you have the time, definitely considering doing this for your e-mail inbox, too.

3. Update your contacts list

Look back at all of the editorial and industry contacts you made in 2018 (or those that you'd like to reach out to in 2019), and be sure to create or update a spreadsheet outlining all of them. You'll be happy to have a handy reference with everybody’s info in one place when you're ready to do some outreach.

4. Back up your work.

Of course, you should be doing this on a regular basis, but if you're anything like me, this task tends to get back-burnered more than it should. Now's the perfect time to back up all of your precious computer files from 2018, so you can breathe easy into the new year.

5. Get a professional 2019 planner/calendar.

I find it helpful to have both a digital and printed calendar – used solely for professional purposes – to keep track of story deadlines, to-do tasks, pitch follow-ups, etc. Find a system that works best for you and stick to it. Organizing and mapping out the use your time – which may include scheduling time for writing itself – can help you to optimize the days, weeks, and months ahead.

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