Tag Archives: freelance deadlines

Freelancing On The Road: Preparing for Disaster Using Gmail

Vinyl Road Rage 2 on the roadby Joe Wallace

I’ve been posting a series of lessons learned from my travels as part of the Vinyl Road Rage series I’m writing over at Turntabling.net, and wanted to include a simple trick I’ve been using for several years now as a way to avoid disaster as a hard-core road warrior and writer.

It’s bound to happen to you eventually–a laptop crashes to the floor of a coffee shop, your hard drive fails, files get corrupted, viruses, you name it. The bottom line is that as a writer, you depend a hell of a lot on these often-fragile things called computers.

What happens when you’re freelancing on the road, and suddenly the contents of your hard drive are unavailable?

A lot of people back everything up to flash drives and thumb drives. It’s a good idea, but I have been burned more than once in an emergency where I was forced to deal with outdated computer gear ┬áin a hotel lobby, airport, public library or other space where you might not be able to hook up a portable USB drive to a computer you need to use due to equipment or security limitations.

My solution? I compose everything in Gmail as a rich text e-mail and send it to myself. From Gmail I can copy/paste into Word or open up Google Documents and paste there, then download as a Word file and e-mail it on.

With Gmail, I always have my work with me, no matter what phone or computer I need to access. Unless you are limited to an old Sinclair or are trying to access the Internet using an Apple IIe, the Gmail solution is pretty useful.

It’s not the most elegant one to be sure, but it has really saved me in cases where I needed to make a deadline but couldn’t access my hard drive. You can get to Gmail from any computer, iPhone, Android, etc. make your modifications and send along. Yes, tweaking a document using an iPhone can be a major ordeal, but if it means the difference between staying on deadline or not, answering a client question or providing examples of your work in a pinch, there are much worse things that could happen.

Are You Spreading Your Freelance Writing Work Too Thin?

freelance-writing-adviceThere are several ways to stress yourself right out of the game when it comes to freelance writing gigs. The first one is to get so worried about not getting any freelance writing assignments that you start coming across as desperate in your queries and other communication with potential clients. Just as bad? Taking on far too much work, spreading yourself too thin and running yoursef into the ground.

How can you tell when you’re doing too much?

First, take a good look at the amount of pay you’re getting versus the amount of time invested. That project you’ve got for $1000 is sweet–IF it’s a for a thousand dollars worth of work. But the ad I found the other day looking for a sucker, I mean, writer, who would write 1000 articles for a dollar each? JUST…SAY…NO.

Second, look at your deadlines. Continue reading Are You Spreading Your Freelance Writing Work Too Thin?

Top 5 Ways to Buy More Deadline Time

buy more time on your deadline

by Joe Wallace

Have you been slapped with an unreasonable deadline? One that’s conflicting with your other freelance writing work? Maybe you just plain fell behind.

When you need some extra deadline time, try a few of these tactics to help lighten the load:

1. Ask for clarification. On practically every project you can find some detail that needs a bit more elaboration from the client. Write an e-mail explaining that you’re stalled because you ran into a problem with X, Y, and X and you need additional information. Chances are the answer might not get back to you immediately and you can leverage the downtime into an extended deadline.

2. Outsource. If you’re juggling multiple projects and can’t get them all done (because you don’t have six pairs of hands) consider outsourcing some of your workload to a trusted freelancer friend. This isn’t the time to be experimenting with some new writer, make sure your fallback person is capable of doing the work and let them know you’ll probably re-write them.

3. Take advantage of flexible deadlines elsewhere. I should just title this one “reprioritize”. Any flexible deadlines you’ve got, shuffle to the back burner and make your tight deadline the priority. Here’s another situation where outsourcing might be helpful.

2. Computer Error. I would never suggest lying to a client, but I can tell you some of my biggest deadline challenges were due to having computer problems that wiped out part or all of the work. To prevent this, I back up to external media, but in the event you have a catostrophic crash, hard drive failure or other problem, contact your client right away to get an extension of your deadline while you recover your data or reaccomplish it.

1. On the heels of the last tip, you can always just ask the client for an extra day or so. Sometimes just being up front about an over-ambitious deadline is the best policy.