Dos and don’ts of freelance journalism

Do get an early start. Begin your day like you would if you had an office job. Remember that the people you liaise with work regular hours. Emails and phone calls do not run according to your time.

Do get into the habit of working regular hours every day when starting off as a freelancer. Once you get a tsunami of requests for your articles, you are free to work as late as you like and sleep irregular hours if that’s your cup of tea.

Do establish a work area in your home. This will help your body differentiate work from play. The constant sight of a messy table will only fuel the headache and transform you into a stinky grouch.

Do get out of the house during lunch and/or after work. Fresh air is not overrated. And a little human interaction doesn’t hurt either.

Do maintain a good relationship with people you have interviewed. This is a great way to get further contacts and potentially get work opportunities via word-of-mouth recommendation.

Do enjoy the freedom and variety of work you get to do as a freelancer.

Don’t have lunch with Dr Phil, Jerry Springer or Oprah. Eating instant noodles while watching the television spells disaster.

Don’t start typing your first word after lunch. Too much sleeping in only makes you sleepier.

Don’t get distracted. When you hear your bed calling out to you seductively or when the thought of stalking your ex on Facebook enters your mind, stay strong and say no.

Don’t forget that there is a world outside your four walls. Make an effort to meet friends for drinks after their regular work hours.

Don’t give in to complacency. Keep yourself up-to-date with current affairs, keep coming up with new ideas and keep writing.

Don’t get drunk at industry parties. This is your chance to network, not hit on your favourite news presenter.

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