Defining Your Goals

(An Insider’s Guide to Making Freelancing Work for You)

Copyright © Rachel Carrington
- All Rights Reserved



Freelancing is working on commission. You get paid when you sell an article, a short story, or even a tip sheet. Ever notice how hard a car salesman works to make that sale? Commission is a big incentive.

So now that you’ve decided to venture into the world of freelance writing, let me offer you some advice which has worked for me since I was laid-off from my job in April 2005—advice which has managed to keep me in the comfort to which I’d become accustomed. 

Now that you’re putting your tenacity and determination to the test, you’ll need a schedule, a written list of daily activities to motivate you. Start with a day planner or simply a blank notebook and just as you would schedule your doctor’s appointments, kids’ soccer games, etc., you’ll create a task list of everyday activities. Since you’re freelancing, your times can be flexible, but I caution you to adhere to certain goals each day. 

You’ll divide your list into four separate sections. The first section is writing, the second is preparing your submission, the third is submitting, and the fourth is research. You have to set aside time each day to do all four. Here’s an example though I usually work with an Excel spreadsheet: 




Preparing Submissions



Finish writing article on dog-grooming.

Edit “Writing Tight” article.

Review writer’s guidelines for Parenting Today and Working Moms and prepare submissions

Submit article “How to Soothe a Colicky Baby”

  • Parenting Today
  • Working Moms

Find at least three places online to submit dog-grooming article.



Now, this looks like a full day’s schedule, but actually, this is a typical two-hour period for me (the articles are examples as I know nothing about dog-grooming or colicky babies). If you want to train yourself not to get too bogged down working on one task, allow yourself a certain amount of time to complete each task and set an egg timer. As you work, highlight each completed task so at the end of the day, you’ll see the progress you’ve made. That, in itself, is a strong motivator to get you going. 

Each evening, you should create a new list so you start fresh each morning. Carry over the activities you didn’t get done the previous day onto the new list and start with those first. Never skip over one of your tasks as it’s too easy to forget about it altogether. It’s a lot like going to the dentist. If you keep putting it off, a cavity will set in. If you keep putting off an item on your list, you’ve just erased a potential income opportunity.  

Along with goal-setting, you’ll want to keep track of what you’ve submitted, when you submitted it, the pay rate, and whether or not you received an acceptance or rejection. Each acceptance will encourage you to continue your goals. Just think logically when you set them. For example, if you’re relatively new to freelancing, you’ll want to set your goals to fit where you are in your writing career. Don’t aim for Harpers Magazine when you’re just beginning to write articles. That’s what this goal sheet is all about. As you see each success you’ve made, you’ll shoot for bigger and better markets. 

Let me leave you with one final thought. A schedule won’t help you if you don’t have the motivation and determination to succeed. If you’re working as a freelance writer, you decide your paycheck. Make sure you’re well-paid. 


About the Author:Rachel Carrington is a multi-published author of paranormal and fantasy romance and currently writes for Ellora's Cave, Red Sage Publishing, and Samhain Publishing. Additionally, she is the editor-in-chief and co-owner of Vintage Romance Publishing and has written non-fiction articles for Absolute Write, Writers Weekly, Funds for Writers, and Writing for Dollars. Readers may visit her on the web at 


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