One of the most flexible yet rewarding things about being a freelancer is the fact that you are in control of your own process. Your client only cares about what you can provide, which allows you to focus on providing the best product possible. This focus provides a clarity that many other remote jobs do not, so it is your responsibility to focus on tailoring your method as much as possible so you can efficiently produce quality content without wasting time or generating frustration. Streamlining your writing process is one of the most important aspects of becoming a successful freelance journalist, so read on for some insight into some surprising things you can do to help yourself succeed as a writer.
If you have a little bit of cash to invest in your career, as well as some extra space in your home, consider purchasing a white board. Movie tropes aside, there is a reason that investigative journalists always have big bulletin boards to help them track down answers. All writing has elements of investigation, which depends on breaking complex–seemingly random–narratives into simplified pieces of information that can be analyzed and scrutinized. You do this as a freelancer, even if you don’t notice it. Communicating ideas to your audience depends on your ability to make the complex into something consumable. This is why a white board that is big enough to fit all the pieces of your puzzle will be so helpful.
Working as a freelancer, especially remotely, typically means you are spending all of your time on the computer. Take a break from this by exercising your handwriting with a dry-erase board. The physicality of this can help relax your brain and stimulate your body in a way that your computer definitely cannot. Most of history’s most brilliant scientists had huge chalkboards to work out their thoughts. You’re probably not unraveling the mysteries of astrophysics, but channeling that success could never hurt.
Break Things Into Chunks
As mentioned above, one of the most fundamental aspects of processing large amounts of information is breaking them into smaller pieces of information. Think of it like chunks; everything in the universe is just small chunks of stuff composing big chunks of stuff. It sounds cute, but it’s true. This is the way you should think about writing. An article is a collection of topics, each topic is composed of body, each body composed of paragraphs, then sentences, then phrases, then words–so on and so forth. Breaking all of this apart on a dry-erase board would probably be a rather inefficient use of your time. It could certainly get to the point where following my first tip does the opposite of streamlining your method.
Try using an application or software to organize your ideas and elements in your writing. Braincat is one such tool that empowers you to distill and organize your ideas into useable chunks. Many projects feel like a drive through the fog, as if you cannot quite anticipate the road before you. Pushing ahead with uncertainty is one of the least efficient ways to tackle your projects as a freelancer. Input your ideas, notes, and thoughts into Braincat, and it will walk you through the process of organizing and visualizing them in a way that is conducive to clarity. Braincat as a writers’ tool digests whatever you throw at it, distilling your ideas, questions, and observations into several formats such as outlines, mind-maps, and to-do lists. No more sticky notes, no more bullets, and no more overwhelm. If you are tired of wasting time creating detailed outlines from scratch, turn to a tool like Braincat. Throw everything that comes into your head into the tool, and let it turn the chaos into order.
Divide and Conquer
Now that you’ve taken your chunks of chaos, sifted them away with your new organizational tool, and acquired new informational constructs, you are ready to pick the task apart piece-by-piece. This process allows you to take one topic, composed of an unknown number of elements, identify them, organize them, and tackle each one in a coordinated fashion. The project is essentially already written–all that is left to do is to take your Braincat outline and tick each element away by simply addressing them one at a time. Instead of pulling the project from your brain, you have created a simplified plan within minutes. All you had to do was throw your ideas and information into the tool.
Wrap It Up
After pulling from your newly organized materials, your article will be ready to edit and revise. Some of the best things you can do to streamline the revision process include using software such as Grammarly to identify any little mistakes you may have made while writing. Share the piece with a colleague or two. Yes, you can always re-read your article two or three times after your final edits, but a couple additional sets of eyes could never hurt. By letting others check your work, you are doubling or tripling the review efficiency. Find someone who likes to criticize, as they will usually do this kind of thing for free.