How freelance writers can make a fresh start in January

It's time to bloom.
We are all driven by deadlines, even if we don't always meet them - Christmas presents bought before the 24th of December (preferably), birthday cards posted to arrive neither too early nor too late, get into work before the boss, and finish that novel in your bottom drawer before you die, to name but a few. 

Most deadlines are logical although some run contrary to popular opinion, like my local supermarket's decision to start selling Easter eggs on the 7th of January. Good luck with that.

January is that time of the year when we wipe the dust from our gym membership card, swear off biscuits (again) and promise ourselves that this time next year it'll all be different. I can't guarantee that, even for myself, but here are my suggestions for a freelance writer's To Do list in January.

Check your resume and portfolio
1. Make sure all the links still work (websites may not last, or the website gets restructured) - nothing stinks like a dead link. You might want to consider storing your best links online through a site like
2. Review the language and format of your resume. Does it focus on your strengths, convey your awesomeness, position you favourably for your target niches?
3. Are your portfolio examples current and relevant? Does a one-off high value job from long ago help promote your business now?

Manage your money
1. Speaking of deadlines, have you completed your tax return and paid up? If, you'd best get on with it!
2. Do you know which clients are your A listers, and which are, frankly, hard work before you even start writing? Carol Tice recommends periodically culling the lowest paying client and then making sure the next client comes in at a higher rate.
3. When did you last review your rates and is it time to raise them? January is an excellent time to alert clients to a rate rise in the new financial year. It's also a great lead-in to scheduling work before then at the current rate.
4. Do you have a folder of prewritten or second rights' material that never gets an airing? This could be the perfect time to review and repurpose for revenue!
5. Are you on the best deals for a landline phone, broadband, and a mobile phone. Whether you're in contract or not, you could make savings by switching or negotiating a better deal.

1. Make regular time for pitching.
2. Keep set hours and limit distractions.
3. Make time to keep your skills current and to look for new niches. For example, I wrote a piece about keeping chickens that developed into a Green Living  column, which in turn helped me get some eco product pieces. All thanks to Sweet Pea and Pepperami.

What do you do in January to make your writing year successful? 

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