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    Five Great Ways to Write (at Work!)

    Let's face it, most freelance writers have two jobs: Their "real" job (the one that pays the bills) and their freelance work (which pays for the frills). We all know, however, that oftentimes both jobs spill over into each other at the most inopportune moments. For instance, working overtime at your day (or night) job can really cut into your freelance deadlines, and calling in sick to write those last 6,000 words you've been putting off can really put the squeeze on what's left of your sick days.

    So how do you possibly get away with a little freelance work -- at work? Well, here are 5 steps you can start using today:


    Get a Free E-mail Account

    One painless way to make sure that you're not missing any valuable freelance messages while you're toiling away at your day job is to sign up for a fr^ee e-mail account with a generic, yet reliable, provider such as Yahoo!, Hotmail, etc.

    While these companies may restrict your amount of storage space, this should still be plenty of room if you simply remember to empty the trash at the end of the day. As a reward, you'll be able to get those valuable freelance messages during the day -- and write back as well! No more waiting until 6 or 7 p.m. to hurry home and check your e-mail, in between all of your other chores, no less. Now, as long as your office has Internet access, you can check your e-mail anywhere, anytime.

    Not only will this simple trick keep you up-to-the-minute on your urgent messages, but it will also save you precious time once you finally get home. After all, you've already read all your e-mail!


    The Pen is Mighter than the Mouse?

    Okay, in a perfect world, you'd work for the family business and have your own office, not to mention computer, fax machine, printer, Internet access, and an e-mail account. Most likely, however, you're stuck in a cubicle right across from your manager, who has 20/20 vision, sneaks up behind you no less than 22 times per hour, and is constantly reminding you that "hard-drives are monitored 24/7 by the folks in IT."

    So much for writing at work. Or is it? After all, a simple trip to the dollar store can snag you four to five whopping notebooks just waiting to be filled with sudden inspiration.

    Got a few minutes in between meetings? Why not brainstorm a title for taht article you need to write by next week? Stuck with nothing to do while the copy machine is being repaired? Open up your notebook and scribble down a rough draft for that short story you've been putting off.

    Writing by hand may take a little getting used to, but after a while it'll feel just like junion high school all over again. Sure, you may have to key the whole mess in again once you get home -- but at least it will already be written!


    Skip Lunch!

    Lunch hour is the most underrated 60 minutes in a freelance writer's day. Just think of all the work you could be getting done (not to mention the money you'd be saving) instead of dining out each afternoon.

    For instance, with a cell phone and a whole lunch hour, you could call back that demanding client who never seems to be at home when you are. On the Internet, you could spend 60 unbroken minutes looking up new writing opportunities on your favorite freelancing sites. In your nifty notebook, you could compose most of that 800-word article due next week. With your fr^ee e-mail account, you could keep in touch with several different clients at once.

    Why, most of us would kill for 60 fr^ee minutes, a whole unbroken hour, once we got home -- let alone at WORK. It's enough to make you never take a lunch break again!


    Use Your Breaks

    Many of us skip those pesky 10-15 minute breaks built-in to our daily grind. (The rest just use them to smoke!) But as a busy freelance writer, just think of the valuable time you're wasting at the water cooler, ashtray, or break room.

    Like one or two "mini" lunches, 10-15 minutes is plenty of time to:

    • Check your e-mail account
    • Brainstorm a new article
    • Proofread an old one
    • Jot down 100-200 words of new material
    • Scope out your favorite freelance Websites
    • Return a client's phone call on your cell phone
    • Mail a query or proposal!

    So, what are you waiting for? Isn't it about time for your next break?


    Come Early, Stay Late

    Though it may hurt a little at first, coming to work early or staying a little late is a great way to catch up on the little freelancing duties that always seem to get away from you once you get home.

    After all, just think of the writing, editing, or proofreading you can get done without the kids whining, the TV blaring, or the husband belching! With the computer terminals free, think of all the surfing you can do.

    Why, the possibilities are endless. (Just don't claim it as overtime!)

    Copyright © Rusty Fischer

    Rusty Fischer is the author of Freedome to Freelance, available at http://www.writers-exchange.com/epublishing/rusty.htm.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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    Grab a copy of WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss! from Amazon.com and receive 2 free e-books to encourage and nurture the writer in you. You'll also receive Write Memories, a journaling workbook available for free only to WEEKLY WRITES book owners. And finally, as a WEEKLY WRITES book owner, you'll have free access to e-mail courses such as JOYFUL WRITES: Celebrate Your Life through Writing

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