Writers, and freelance writers, want to be productive each day. They really want to meet the writing goals they have set for themselves for that day. But first, you have to check your e-mail in all your e-mail accounts and respond to it. Several e-mails offer newsletters to read, and that takes time. Writing back to the people who wrote you, and on and on until you're entirely sucked into the vortex of e-mail for hours or even most of the day.
Then you start researching for the article or story you want to write, but Google or whatever search engine spews out some intriguing links that you absolutely must check out. Then maybe you start wondering what social interactions you are missing out of on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn or Twitter. This distraction also eats up your time.
Then it's time to quit for the day to see about dinner, the kids, the spouse or keep a social engagement. And not one thing can be crossed off your To-Do list. Another day shot, and you are not feeling too good about yourself.
Does this happen to you? Are you driven to distractions when you are trying to accomplish set tasks? And it's even worse if you have adult attention deficit disorder, I can tell you. Some days it's like sinking into quicksand and nothing happens with your well-intentioned plans and projects.
Well I came across the best free e-book that helps you lessen distractions and even disconnect from them. It's called Focus Manifesto and it's written by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. All 28 chapters won't cost you a thing, although there are books for sale in print and Kindle editions. This book helps you feel that you might have a chance to start finishing the daily tasks you set for yourself.
The book is very thought-provoking. Babauta talks about the side effects of living in our information age such as creeping fears arising when we aren't updating information and learning about the lastest happening. We feel something bad may happen to us if we don't stay informed. Anything could happen, right? Someone may judge you as ill-informed or you could miss an opportunity.
This book is way beyond helping you stop playing solitaire at work and gambling at home. It's about learning how to slow down, enjoy life and have personal freedom in which to read a book, take a walk, listen to music or go camping for a week without a computer. It tells you how to not live in your inbox.
The book doesn't insist you disconnect from all distractions at once. It respects the fact that some distractions are necessary and important. The goal is to find balance. There are many suggestions for how to accomplish this; for example, each hour focus on tasks for 40 minutes, then take 20 minutes for distractions. It sure beats all distractions all the time.
I hope you get as much out of the book as I did. I was desperate to start accomplishing goals and stop my days and nights of noodling on the computer.
Here are some good newsletters for any kind of writer including those who freelance.
Here's a link for you literary folks. Garrison Keillor of radio's Prairie Home Companion has a daily newsletter called "The Writer's Almanac." You can subscribe for free here. Each newsletter begins with a unique, usually clever, poem in print and in audio with the poet reading it. The rest of the newsletter is the most interesting, compelling facts about whatever authors were born on that day. I am amazed at his information. I don't know where he digs it up, but he talks about writers I studied in college as an English major and thought I knew, and comes up with off-the-wall stories that would be good reading about Joe Blow. Really. If you love books and writers, don't miss this.
Here's a newsletter for freelance writers that I read and enjoy. Get it free, The WM Freelance Writing Connection. It has free e-books on marketing yourself and your writing, job listings, and many other resources. It's also the only place I've seen where you can get a writing buddy to bounce ideas off and to spur you to keep on keeping on. You write out what you're looking for in a writing buddy and it's matched up with others' requests. Cool, huh?
One of the absolute best newsletter you can subscribe to for free is Carol Tice's "Make A Living Writing. When you subscribe (free) you'll get a free copy of her invaluable e-book, "40 Ways to Market Your Writing." This is an award winning blog, and it was voted one of the top ten writing blogs of 2010. Carol writes that she started the blog in 2008 because she was and is passionate about seeing that writers get paid what they're worth. And she knows what she's talking about. She shares her unbelievable income from her various writing projects and webinars, and she is raking it in. The articles are outstanding and always about something you can use. She recently announced that she felt it was only fair to pay guest hosts $50. See the blog to apply.
Speaking of freelance writing, it was in "Make A Living Writing" that I learned of a lucrative freelance market in writing textbook supplements. The guy who guest hosted shared how much he makes and how to get into it. Read all about it here.
No hand holding. No coddling. No crap freelance writing jobs. Just serious advice for serious freelance writers — that’s what you’ll get from All Freelance Writing.All Freelance Writing is a freelance writing blog managed by Jennifer Mattern, a freelance business & PR writer, professional blogger, e-book author, and Web developer. The "About" section says this: "no hand holding. No coddling. No crap freelance writing jobs. Just serious advice for serious freelance writers — that’s what you’ll get from All Freelance Writing.
In addition to unique and timely articles that aren't same old same old like you often find in these blogs and newsletters for freelance writers, there are job listings, a forum, and other resources including my favorite, "Freebies." Here you can get various tools and calculators for figuring out freelance hourly rates, e-book sales conversion, keyword density analysis, free Word Press themes and web templates. But what I have most appreciated are Jennifer's e-books on how to write an e-book in 14 days, and how to write a press release, which includes free distribution companies' addresses. Not to be missed.
Another helpful newsletter for writers is "Confident Writing." That's where I heard about "Focus Manifesto." They usually have some great articles too that are not run-of-the-mill.
There are other writing links under links on this blog. You can get a free education as well as tools you can use and job opportunities.