10 Things All Freelance Writers Should Do Before the End of 2009

December 31

I know you’re busy, but if you’d take a look up at your calendar you might notice there’s less than a week left of October. This means only two months left to the end of the year. While I always enjoy the clean slate feel of January, the truth is, November and December are a whirlwind of activity for freelance writers. Not only because of the impending holidays, but also because of all the administrative tasks we need to take care of before the end of 2009.

Don’t wait until the last minute…

10 Things All Freelance Writers Should Do Before the End of 2009

1. Set up a new calendar: It may be a new year, but you’re still going to have to plan ahead.  Within the next couple of weeks you’ll need to set up new deadlines, plan your editorial calendar, set up meetings, log networking events and, in general, plan ahead. Having a calendar now will ensure you’re organized, focused and ready to face the new year.

2. Settle old invoices: You did the work, now make sure you’re paid for it. Keep your accounting current and make sure all those slow clients pay off by the end of the year. This way everyone is starting with a clean slate.

3. Meet all deadlines: All those tasks you’re putting off? Time to get them done. The new year is a time for a fresh start, that won’t happen when you have unfinished projects. Finish up all your tasks and start off 2010 on the right foot.

4. Settle your debts:Your clients aren’t the only ones who need to keep current. Take care of your own debts so you’re not scrambling in January. You might even be able to start the new year by putting money in the bank – never a bad thing.

5. Follow up on networking contacts: All those business cards sitting in a shoe box on your desk are there for a reason. Touch base with the people you want to do business with and file or trash the rest. Don’t wait until it’s too late to renew acquaintances.

6. Organize receipts: If your receipts are just thrown into a ziplock or supermarket shopping bag, it’s time to organize them for year end accounting. Sort out your expenses in order to save time when tax time comes along.

7. Scruitize your books: How’d you do this year? Did the end justify the means? Are you being paid enough money? Did you bring in a profit? Analyze your books and see if changes need to be made. Perhaps you need to adjust your rates in 2010.

8. Go through your client list: Time to cut out the dead weight. If you’re in a position to pick and choose, you might want to cut out the clients that are bringing you down or who don’t pay enough. You don’t need the negativity in the new year. Figure out if any clients need to go, or if you should take another client’s business to the next level.

9. Tie up any loose ends: Return phone calls and emails. Dot all i’s and cross all t’s. All those little tasks you’ve been putting off have to get done. Now. Tie up all your loose ends before the end of the year so you don’t carry that headache into the new year.

10. Set up new files: Old files in the back, new files in the front. Get your 2010’s ready so you won’t be scrambling on January 2nd.

What are some of the tasks you want to complete before the end of the year? Doing these things now rather than the last week in December, or worse, the first week in January, will help you to start 2010 with a positive new outlook.


  1. Phil says

    I try to project the next year, month by month. I find it gets my business in better shape. I also don’t slack off due to the holidays.

    As to No. 4; I agree, but massive medical expenses will mean my kids kids will eventually be paying off the bills.

  2. says

    I want to sort out my old files turning them into archives. This applies to all my online and offline files. I’m also thinking to reformat my system, maybe upgrading it to a more reliable one based form some honest review. I’m also considering taking a short course to broaden my scope of practice. I hope I can do that so I can accept more projects next year. New, clean and organize— my ideal way to start my year.

    • says

      Alex, I’m probably the most disorganized person I know. However, when it comes to my business, I’m very organized. I don’t believe one can run a successful practice anywhere without being on top of things.

      Good luck to you and all of your endeavors.

  3. Tania Mara says

    The “set up a new calendar” step has been taken care of. That’s always the first thing I do when I prepare myself for a new year. The rest comes as natural consequences.

    4. Settle your debts

    This is essential! Very few things are as rewarding as starting a new year knowing you’re debt-free.

  4. Anne G. says

    Next month for me is different. I’m going to still be working, but three years ago, I completed NanoWriMo successfully. Then the next year I worked more and only got halfway finished. I didn’t even bother last year.

    This year I decided it is important to me to get back into it and actually meet the goal, so I’m toning down work and going to put more focus into the competition.


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