Freelancer life… Why having a routine is good for you

Freelance writing in Devon

When you work for yourself, your routine doesn’t have to look anything like anybody else’s.

I had an interesting conversation the other morning, over coffee with a freelancer friend. We were discussing our daily and weekly routines and how establishing these had been so important to both of us when starting out in freelance life. The irony of this conversation and its location has since struck me because one of the biggest advantages of being a freelance writer is that you can (and sometimes should) break out of the daily routine to find time for morning coffee with friends.

Down the right road

Routine is an interesting concept. Sometimes used as an adjective to denote the dull or humdrum but actually a comfort to many of us, routines can seem unattractive but often form the basis of a fun and productive life. It might help routine’s PR to look at its etymology. As you might expect, it comes from the French word ‘route’ meaning ‘road’, suggesting that a routine is something that will help you get to the places you want to be. Surely a good thing for any freelancer. Throughout my working life, the places I have generally wanted to be were ‘in work’ and ‘with money’. However the picture is more complicated now that I am a freelance writer. Having been in a high-pressured career and being the grand old age of 52, I now understand that the other important place I want to be is ‘with time’.

Achieving your freelance goals

So how do you achieve that elusive trinity of goals? The numbers of happy freelancers across the UK clearly demonstrates that having an acceptable combination of work, money and time is possible but I would suggest that this triumvirate doesn’t come without some element of organisation. That, of course, is where our old friend routine comes into play. Within established routines you can allocate time to each goal, ensure your work life balance and, maybe most importantly, avoid that, ‘I wish someone would tell me what to do next’ feeling.

It’s your routine after all!

When the work pile looks insurmountable a routine can help you make your way through it. When your inbox is empty, a routine can help you take alternative positives steps towards freelance success. With a solid freelance routine you can make informed decisions about when to break free and when to stick to your guns. Without a freelance routine you risk feeling as though you are underachieving. If this all sounds a bit… well… routine, the great news is that when you work for yourself, your routine doesn’t have to look anything like anybody else’s.

Awesomesauce… We have the best of January’s new Oxford English Dictionary words

OED additions January 2020

I don’t want to risk OED mentionitis (the over mentioning of something to which one is attracted) but the latest list of additions to the Oxford English Dictionary has got me a bit broigus (irritated). All this futzing (messing about) with the language can be hard for us writers to keep up with, and how on earth am I supposed to get danfo (a yellow minibus from Lagos) into my freelance copywriting?

Macaroons and macarons

However, I am not entirely awedde (overcome with anger). We can all finally relax and watch Bake Off without getting confused between our macaroons and our macarons (meringue-like biscuits). We can also create our own bespoke beverages because tea-bag (to put your own herbs into a tea-making sachet) has at last ventured beyond the urban dictionary (entirely different and unsuitable meaning) and is now a respectable, middle class verb. I am pleased to note that chicken soup and chicken noodle soup, both of which I have been making for years are now official (goodness only knows what they were called before) but I refuse to describe any food, apart from chicken, as tasting chickeny (although come to think of it, we do have beefy, porky and turkey).

Cucamelons for tea

Regarding my hobbies. I am particularly pleased to find cucamelon (something I would like to grow this year) in the January 2020 OED additions.  I am not sure I will be investing in a couscoussier (steamer for cous cous) for the campervan but may adopt the preposition a-eastell (actually related to Nigerian politics) to add a little pep to my navigation courses.

New words and lots of rain

So far 2020 has brought us some interesting new words and lots of rain. I am hoping this latter isn’t an example of cyclonic bombogenesis (a dramatic fall in pressure) but I don’t have a barometer to check.

OED word fun

If you want to have your own word fun with the new Oxford English Dictionary lists, you can find them here. I will leave you now to work out for yourself whether or not you have a noonie


October at the Oxford English Dictionary… new words please!

How today’s businesses can get the most out of copywriters

Here at Fi Darby Freelance we are often asked to post contributed content on our blog. We only do this if it is content in which we think our readership will be interested. We certainly found this one useful…

How today’s businesses can get the most out of copywriters

You’ll find lots of helpful tips out there for freelance writers and the copywriting lifestyle. But, in addition to your own needs as a writer, it’s important to understand how businesses work with you to get the best out of your contributions and services.

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Is your computer after your writing job? Artificial intelligence and copywriting

Would you trust writing that had been written by a computer algorithm? Perhaps not if you knew its origin but artificial intelligence and writing are already working hand in hand and the time may well be coming when human copywriters will be required to pit their skills against artificial intelligence alternatives. There is still a place for person-generated web and social content but how long is it going to be before AI takes over the copywriter’s role? And more to the point, how on earth are we supposed to keep up with the natural language generation revolution?

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Too much work or not enough? How to manage the boom or bust side of freelance life

I have been working as a freelance writer down here in Devon for almost five years now. Long enough for me to understand but not necessarily appreciate the feast or famine side of freelance work life. Being unsure of how much money I am going to earn each month makes for a lifestyle that is interesting, in every possible sense of the word. I will confess to having moments of worry when work doesn’t come in as regularly as I would like it to. I will also confess to having feelings of mild panic when I have a list of writing jobs that includes a number higher than five. Here are my five top tips for managing the boom or bust side of freelance life.

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National Get Outside Day writing tips – how to enjoy the outdoors and improve your writing

Tomorrow is National Get Outside Day, which means that I won’t be sitting at my desk or even typing, digital nomad style, in my camper van. Tomorrow I will be out and about with Two Blondes Walking, enjoying the outdoors and getting a bit of inspiration for my outdoor writing. Most of us have experienced the clearer-head feeling that goes with being outside but the great outdoors can go even further than that to encourage, energise and enhance our writing. We have three tips about how to get outside and improve your outdoor writing:

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How to become a freelance outdoor writer

Freelance outdoor writing offers plenty of reward for those who love the outdoor lifestyle. Paid opportunities to travel, explore and spend time outside are wonderful when they come along but, compared to other areas of freelance writing, this is a competitive industry.

Campaigns such as Sport England’s This Girl Can and Ordnance Survey’s Get Outside are starting to work and the numbers of people spending time in the natural environment are increasing. This has led to an growth in requirements for outdoor writing but breaking into the industry still takes time and persistence. We have five top tips on how to become a freelance outdoor writer.

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Devon attractions or Devon distractions? Freelance writers be warned

When spring hits and the sunshine comes out, Devon can be a pretty (actually pretty) good place to be living and working. With beaches, moors and a whole load of other outdoor places to explore, a freelance writer in Devon could feel spoilt for opportunities to get outside and find out more about her lovely home. Which, of course, is exactly what I spend a lot of my time doing. Unfortunately some of this is time that I should be spending at my desk writing and paying the mortgage. Here are a few of my thoughts on how to deal with distractions when you are working from home. Continue reading “Devon attractions or Devon distractions? Freelance writers be warned”

Can’t they make jam? The post-Brexit food crisis.

I am in the grip of a writer’s conundrum here, on one hand I am doing my utmost to sit on my frustrations and stay out of the Brexit debate, on the other, I like talking about food (and of course eating it). Continue reading “Can’t they make jam? The post-Brexit food crisis.”

Frankly-incensed by Christmas spelling mistakes? We have a few helpful turkey tips…

For many of us, Christmas is one of the few times in the year when we pick up a pen and remember that handwriting exists. This is great and no doubt good for us but, after a year in the company of spellcheckers and predictive text, it can be hard work grappling with Christmas wordage. We have a few Christmas spelling and grammar tips for you so that your stables remain steady, your mangers don’t go mangey and your holly and ivy behave.

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