Category Archives: reading

Productivity x 3

ManageYourDaytoDayIn recent weeks I have been using my annual spring/summer sabbatical from publication layout work to develop several of my own creative projects…simultaneously. What I’m hoping is that by summer’s end, everything will come together in one grand fait accompli. I have a detailed game plan for each project. I have to-do lists based on ‘Critical Inch’ thinking. And each morning, I put my feet on the floor and get right to work. But it’s a rare day that I actually accomplish everything I set out to do.

It seems there’s always something to derail my best laid plans: a loyal client in need of a random project with a tight deadline, a roadblock created by equipment or software conflicts, or a seductive offer by someone who wants me to play hooky for the day. So although at the moment my time is completely my own, I don’t always make the best use of it to further my creative goals.

In the past month however, I have discovered three inspiring resources that have made a tremendous contribution to my productivity: one book and two apps.

The book is titled Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind. Published by 99U, it contains a series of essays by freelancers and entrepreneurs offering their insights on how to maintain creativity and productivity in an increasingly distracting world. No matter how busy you think you are, it’s well worth taking time to read it. And if you have a Kindle and subscribe to Amazon Prime you can borrow it free of charge!

App #1 is called RescueTime , a free downloadable app that monitors how you spend your time on the computer and generates a weekly report. It’s customizable according to your routine tasks and activities and can be a real eye-opener for those who are wondering why their days disappear so quickly without yielding productive results.

App #2 is called FocusBooster, another free downloadable app that consists of a simple 25/5 minute timer. It’s based upon the Pomodoro Technique, “a time management method created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s. The technique uses a timer to break down periods of work into 25-minute intervals (referred to as “pomodoros”) separated by breaks and is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility.” Although deceptively simple, this method of dividing your workday into manageable bursts of activity with breaks in between is a remarkably effective productivity tool.

CelesteHeiterFZBioCeleste Heiter is the author of Turn Your PC into a Lean Mean Freelancing Machine, the creator of the LoveBites Cookbook Series for Kindle Fire, and the author of Potty Pals , a potty-training book for children. She has also written ten books published by ThingsAsian Press; and spent eight years posting her recipes, food photographs, and film reviews on ChopstickCinema .

Visit her website, and her Amazon Author Page.


Eat Your Serial

Today we have a Q&A with Shawn Abrahamone of the people behind the site Eat Your Serial. We thought this might be of interest to our readers….check it out!                  – Catherine

EYS Logo High ResQ: What kind of website is Eat Your Serial?

Eat Your Serial is a new online platform designed to connect up and coming creative talent with a hungry audience. Stories are released as serials, with a new chapter every week. At the moment, we have five concurrently running serials in a variety of genres and styles.

Q: Who are the people involved, and what are their backgrounds?

The team at Eat Your Serial is comprised of a group of dedicated and diverse individuals. The founder and President worked for Random House, the largest trade-book publisher in the world. The rest of our staff has experience in: online marketing, talent management, education, sales, and service. For more information on our team, you can visit Eat Your Serial also boasts a talented editorial staff who work closely with our authors to ensure the strongest possible end product.

Q: Can you tell readers how the idea for this site came about?

There seems to be a misnomer floating around about how nobody reads anymore. The original idea for the site stemmed from thoughts and conversations about how off the mark that is. People are reading more than ever. It’s just the mediums that are changing. People spend a remarkable amount of time reading and absorbing content on blogs, social networking sites and more. So we felt like there was a niche waiting to be explored with easily digestible portions of creative content. Serials are a tried and true method of content delivery, and we feel like audiences will respond well to our model.

Q: What types of work do you publish?

We publish work in all genres. From sci-fi and fantasy to romance and introspective semi-autobiographies. Some are funny, some are sad. We want to make sure there’s something for everybody, and we have many pieces waiting in the wings that will further diversify our list.

Q: How can writers or readers who are interested learn more about how this works?

The best way is to visit, and click around. Read some of the serials, leave comments, and enjoy! We’re always on the lookout for new talent, and our submission guidelines are up on the site.

Q: What are your upcoming plans for the site?

We don’t want to tip our hat too early, but we have a lot of exciting plans in the works. Looking ahead to some of the books we’re going to be publishing, we’re really proud of what our authors have been creating. But beyond that, all I can say is that I’m pretty sure there’s more to serials than just text and prose. Some of the most popular TV shows of all time were serials…

Resource: WordSpy

by Catherine L. Tully

Today just a quick resource for you vocabulary junkies out there…

WordSpy is a site that will keep you up-to-date on all the latest words being added to our language. Examples include “neurocinematics” and “pajamahadeen”.

This is a fun site with plenty to keep you occupied–just make sure you don’t get so caught up that you neglect your writing...

You can check out the top 100, or search posts by category or date. And if you’re interested, there is also a book. However you choose to consume it–it’s a good read.

Plus, you just might learn something.

Freelance-Zone Named in Writer’s Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers

Writers Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers 2011

A big thank you to all our readers who nominated for the Writer’s Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers list for 2011. Today on the Borders newsstand we found the Writer’s Digest Writer’s Yearbook 2011 edition, which lists Freelance-Zone alongside 100 other valuable resources for freelance writers including The Renegade Writer, The Copywriter Underground and many others.

2011 our third year in the running as a nominated Writer’s Digest Top 101 Website For Writers site, and for every year we’ve been able to report our name made the list, it’s clear that we couldn’t have done it without you.Without you, there’s really no reason for us to research, write, and report.

We look forward to serving you in 2011–we’re hard at work on revising our collection of Writers Groups by State and creating a brand new section, Writing Programs by State, which lists colleges, universities and independent writing centers and the programs they offer. has new features coming that we’ll be unveiling soon…we’re very excited about the future and we’re very grateful for your continued interest and support.

Here’s to another great year.

GuideGecko: Write Travel Guide Apps


Today on Freelance-Zone we have a special treat–GuideGecko Founder, Daniel Quadt is here to walk readers through the process of writing a travel guide app. Be sure and check out their site–it’s a great resource.               – Catherine

1. GuideGecko has a new offering for writers—a travel guide app. Can you tell us a little about what that is and how it works? 

Writers can now publish iPhone travel guide apps with GuideGecko, and sell them through Apple’s app store. You simply enter your content using our super-easy website and we’ll do the rest. The apps look really good, and they are tailor-made for travel guides. They even feature offline maps so users do not incur hefty roaming charges when using them abroad. Take a look at for some screenshots.

Hotels_Sleeping_Screenshot2. Are there any particular requirements for writers?

You should know your topic and have a very good command of English. It helps if you have written or contributed to travel books or online guides before, but it’s not a requirement.

3. Why did you decide to move in this direction in terms of offering travel writing content?

Apps are an extension of our existing services for writers and publishers. Since our launch in March 2009, we have published over 200 guidebooks by independent authors, as printed books and for download. Apps allow us to create much more interactive, appealing products with advanced features. For example, with the app, you can easily check for nearby restaurants when you are hungry. Or you use the interactive map to plan your itinerary.

Photos4. What other opportunities do you have for writers?

Another exciting service that we launch together with apps is “Web publishing”, which allows writers to become part of our network of destination sites. You can earn a substantial income with destination sites through ads and booking links, and we share this income with our writers.

It’s very easy: You suggest a destination and a topic, e.g. “New York on a Budget” or “Paris with Kids” and publish your content on We promote the individual sub-sites and the network as a whole, leading to synergies that are very difficult and time consuming to achieve for individual authors. Just think of all the Search Engine Optimization you would have to do to bring in visitors! It’s much easier to attract visitors to a large site, and the network effect naturally leads more visitors to the individual sub-sites.

Web publishing is also ideal for writers who know their topic, but don’t want to bother about site structure, HTML+CSS, layout, Adsense, and so on. We manage all that, and writers can concentrate on what they know (and like) best.

Even better: If you want to do Web publishing and iPhone apps together, you have to enter the content only once. We can use the same content for apps and for the web.

5. How can people find out more information about writing for GuideGecko?

Simply go to This page has all the info, and you can apply for web publishing and to make an app.

Please Vote: Writers Digest 101 Best Websites For Writers 2011


It’s that time again…please nominate for the Writers Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers list by sending an email to with the phrase 101 Best Websites in your subject line.

In your e-mail, please mention you’re nominating for the 101 Best Websites for Writers list, hit send, and your vote has been cast! We greatly appreciate being nominated for the 2011 list.

As always, thank you for making a success. We’ve been named on the Writers Digest 101 Best Websites list two years running now, and we’re very grateful for those who helped make that possible.