7 Realistic Freelance Editor and Writer Goals for 2018

writer goals

In 2018, I’m going to triple my income, turn in every order three days early, drop 20 pounds, learn Thai boxing, finish a novel, pay off all my debt, save enough money to feel safe and cook from-scratch healthy meals 365 times.

Hang on a minute while I consult my crystal ball. Yep: just as I thought. That string of resolutions is doomed to failure starting the second week of January. Creating a list of numerous huge goals without much of a plan to get me there just sets me up for failure, and it’s something I’ve talked about with many freelancers as the New Year approaches. We tend to do a lot of questionable math that makes enormous goals seem easy to achieve, but we might forget to factor in family obligations, sleep or even sanity.

I’m not telling anyone not to reach for the stars in 2018. I’m going to be doing some star reaching myself. It’s a year that begins on a Monday, and one of my fellow Crowd Content admins assures me: That luck of the calendar brings us good things.

I am saying that stepping stones are what make the journey up the mountain possible, so here are 7 realistic freelance editor and writer goals for 2018 that can help you achieve bigger dreams.

[ctt template=”4″ link=”o2fCe” via=”no” nofollow=”yes”]Set S.M.A.R.T. goals for the New Year to increase productivity and ensure success.[/ctt]

1. Create an Early Deadline Habit

The battle with procrastination is super real for me, as it is for many of my cohorts. I’ve learned over the years that I’m going to fill my schedule with work and other obligations, shuffling each item dangerously close to deadline as I do. Instead of trying to break this habit, I’m starting a new one. When I record work in my planner, I just set the deadline earlier. When possible, I record it a day earlier; sometimes I can only manage a few hours earlier.

This habit is helping me avoid deadline stress, but I’m not 100 percent there yet. My goal in 2018 is to set every deadline early and hit at least 75 percent of those early milestones. Figure out what might work for you and create any new habit that helps you reduce procrastination, if even a little. When you’re not fighting deadlines, you might find you “magically” have more time to work on your goals (or enjoy a cup of tea and a good book).

2. Move 10 Minutes of Every Hour You Sit

Numerous studies in 2017 found that sitting for hours a day is unhealthy — and that’s true even if you work out regularly or eat right. Experts say you should get up and move around frequently. In 2018, start setting an alarm and get up for 10 minutes of every hour that you sit. You don’t have to work out during those movement breaks — I plan to use the time to walk up my driveway for the mail, wash a few dishes, dust some shelves or play with my toddler.

An added bonus to movement is that you might find the mental break lets you get back to work with less burn out. Plus, if you work 6 to 8 hours a day, that’s 60 to 80 minutes of movement, which can make a difference in how many calories you burn daily.

RELATED: 4 Ways for Freelance Writers to Stay Productive from Their Home-Based Office

3. Add a New Freelance Skill Every Week

Whether you’re a newbie freelancer or a professional editor with years of work under your belt, you can always learn new skills. Some ideas for relevant skills include:

  • Mastering a new grammar rule each week
  • Memorizing the spelling of words that regularly trip you up
  • Learning to incorporate Boolean searches when you research online
  • Discovering a new Excel formula or trick to make work easier
  • Learning a new vocabulary word
  • Figuring out the rules of a new project

4. Create and Maintain a Weekly Earnings Goal

Instead of thinking about your freelance income in terms of the month or year, create a weekly goal. First, decide how much you need or want to earn in 2018. Base your goal on real figures: what bills and expenses do you need to cover, how much do you want to save and how much extra would you like for fun stuff? Once you have a total for the year or month, divide to find a weekly figure. (Divide an annual figure by 52 weeks; multiply a monthly figure by 12 and then divide by 52).

Decide how many days a week you want to work and divide the weekly figure by that many days. That’s your daily goal, and it’s usually a less overwhelming number than a monthly or yearly goal.

One freelancer I know sets a two-tier goal. If her daily goal is $125 based on the calculations above, she might set a minimum goal of $125 and a “stretch goal” of $150. By stretching to the higher goal, she builds a buffer in case she has a bad day or needs to take off in the future.

Meeting a smaller, daily goal regularly helps you meet large annual goals without stressing over impossible-seeming numbers. And if you miss one day, it’s easier to incorporate the underage into future days. It’s almost impossible to do that with a missed month.

[ctt template=”4″ link=”fws65″ via=”no” nofollow=”yes”]Up productivity in the New Year by setting smart, achievable goals.[/ctt]

5. Reduce Your Caffeine Habit

Before the pitchforks and torches come out, note that I’m not saying kick caffeine completely. Studies have shown that caffeine can increase mental focus, but it’s a less-is-more situation for many people. As you increase caffeine intake, your body becomes used to the impact and stops responding in a way that boosts energy and focus. Bringing your habit down to a single dose a day regularly (with occasional extra cuppas for special events) actually increases the positive impact of caffeine. Plus, in super rare cases, too much caffeine can lead to a literal heart attack, and that’s not a line we want anyone crossing in 2018.

6. Apply for New Opportunities Once a Week

We love our Crowd Content writers, and we’re always excited when you choose to write for us. Many of the Crowd Content admins are freelancers too, though, so we know smart writers and editors can’t rely solely on a single source of work. Plus, as you incorporate new skills and better freelancing habits, you might be able to land some high-paying private clients.

The application process can be brutal, though, and a few days of it in a row often leads to burnout. Instead of powering through apps and lead sourcing in week-long marathons, choose one (or a couple) good opportunities each week. That lets you polish and customize your app, but leaves you plenty of time to work where you’re already appreciated (did we mention how much we love our regulars?)

7. Invest Time in a Non-Wording Hobby

Finally, find something you enjoy doing that doesn’t involve sitting at a computer and typing as fast as you can. Indulging in activity that you enjoy (that doesn’t involve pulling words continuously from your brain) helps you enjoy life more and refocuses your creative and professional skills for when it’s time to get back to work. Some activities I’ve heard freelancers say they enjoy include crocheting, sewing, hiking, drawing, painting, running, rowing, swimming and gardening.

2018 is going to be a great year. Let’s dream big but plan small steps to get us there.

Sarah Stasik

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Sarah is an experienced writer and copyeditor with a background in project management. She’s Six Sigma Black Belt certified and leverages her knowledge of statistical analysis, process improvement and content marketing to help clients engage audiences and increase conversions.

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