Just coasting along

By Katharine Swan On Monday, July 03, 2017 At 4:11 PM

It has been nearly a year since I last blogged.  Rather than to tell you, "I'm back!" -- something that has been proven wrong every time I've said it -- I want to tell you about what I have been doing.

The truth is, although I've been really busy, sometimes I feel like I don't have much control over my time.  I've just been coasting along, and I want to change that.

I've made a couple of changes recently that I'm hoping will help with that goal.
The first one was to start looking for freelance jobs again.  I've become a bit complacent with my regular clients and the babysitting that helps to fill in the gaps, but I don't want to continue down that road.  I want more clients, better clients, and I want to focus more time on my own projects again.

The second one was a suggestion from a fellow freelancer.  She devotes one day a week -- Monday -- to doing financial things: tracking income and expenses, paying bills, and so on.  I used to record all of my income and expenses immediately, leaving me little to do at tax time, but for years I've been getting worse and worse.  I think devoting Mondays to this might not only be a good way to start off my week, but also might help me to keep up on my finances and minimize my workload around tax season.

The third is an idea I had just the other day.  This month is Camp NaNoWriMo, and since I failed miserably at Camp in April (mostly because of taxes; see above), I want to do better this month.  I haven't worked on revisions to Ruby Ransome since NaNoWriMo last November, and if this book is ever going to see the light of day, I need to keep up my momentum.

So this month -- and hopefully long term -- I am going to work on my novel first every day that I work from home.  The exception will be weekends, days I babysit in the morning, or other days where I have plans first thing in the day.  But normally I "warm up" every morning with coffee, checking emails, and browsing Facebook.  As much as I do actually find Facebook valuable for keeping track of friends and keeping up on current events, I could make better use of that time by diving straight into my novel every day.

This is actually pretty counter intuitive for me, since I actually focus better later in the day.  However, there are also more things demanding my time later in the day.  It's partly due to procrastination throughout the day, and partly because things come up throughout the course of the day.  So I figure the best way to make sure this one thing gets done every day is to do it first, before I have a chance to get carried away with anything else.

The plan is to work on my novel for at least an hour every day, although today I didn't want to stop and actually put in two hours.  I may or may not follow that up with some time spent blogging, time permitting.  Keeping up with my blogs is another thing I would really like to do again.

I'm hoping these few small changes will make a substantial difference over time in my habits and productivity, and I intend to introduce other small changes over time.  If there is anything I've learned in the last year or two, it's that lifestyle changes have to be made slowly, over time, with lots of small tweaks here and there.

I may also use this blog as a sort of accountability tool, and keep my readers posted on my progress.  I'm tired of not having anything I can report as progress.  It's time to stop coasting, and actively drive this ever-changing road that is my life.

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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