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Fall is almost here, but are you prepared for a new season of writing? Whether you’ve been punching away at the keyboard all summer or not, autumn is a great season to refresh, recharge, and renew your writing life. Here are five tips to help you get ready for fall writing—and produce some of your best work yet:

Collect Fresh Ideas

Think about the summer and what you learned or experienced in the last few months. Tap into your senses to discover a new twist on the changing colors, air, and pace of this time of year. Attend a lecture or do some reading. Ideas are everywhere; find something unique to share.

Write a List

Goals are important for successful writing because they keep you organized, on task, and productive. Put together a list of them. Make it as detailed as you can, knowing you can alter your list as needed. Then put it somewhere visible to serve as a reminder and motivator.

Make Some Useful Purchases

Need a new writing desk? How about a new dictionary or a style book? Now’s the time to buy. There’s a full inventory of office and school supplies available, many at discounted prices. Take advantage of the deals and get your writing tools updated.

Join a Group

Writing groups are an ideal way to advance your craft, network, and keep you inspired to write. Find a group online or in person and get connected. You might also join a writing organization related to your genre. Many writing organizations have national and local chapters.

Prepare a Schedule

After the unstructured months of summer, it can be hard to get back to a routine. Take the time to prepare a schedule—and a plan for following it. Decide when you’ll write during the weekdays and weekend. Spend a day or two trying out the new schedule to see how it feels.

Fall is one of the best times of year to get serious about your writing. In fact, many writers create some of their best work during the autumn months. Let the above tips help make this writing season a success for you.

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social-media-419944_640So you’re well on your way to a blossoming freelance writing career. You’ve got plenty of publishing credits to your name, clients with upcoming projects tailored just for you, and fresh ideas for writing pieces you plan to tackle this year. What more do you need to succeed? You might say nothing—but you’d be wrong. There are some key must-haves for experienced (and not-so-experienced) writers that fall outside the obvious. Here are five that come to mind:

  1. Social media presence. If you haven’t opened an account on Facebook, twitter, or linked in yet, it’s time to get on the bandwagon. Having a social media presence is essential for today’s freelance writer. Not only does social media help you network with other writers, it’s also one of the best ways to promote yourself and your work and to find new gigs—all key to success.
  2. Goals. Without goals, you won’t get very far in your freelance writing career. Goals give you something to work toward and help you complete steps along your writing journey. Goals can be short term or long term, simple or complex. They are also subject to alteration. The most important thing is to write goals down and take them seriously. Then, feel the joy and rewards of crossing them off, one by one.
  3. Daily inspiration. This might come in the form of a book of daily writing prompts, a tweet from a favorite author, or an activity that spurs you on and gives you motivation. You can also get daily inspiration by simply reading a chapter of an engaging novel. Anything that gets your creative juices flowing, even if it’s just a morning jog or a cup of joe, can be all the inspiration you need.
  4. Writing support. Writing is a solo act, but it shouldn’t be a lonely one. In fact, acquiring writing friends, mentors, and supporters is a necessary part of becoming a successful freelance writer. Social media is a great way to round up writing friends, but don’t leave out those who have helped advance your career by encouraging you to pursue your dreams, like spouses, long-time friends, librarians, and teachers.
  5. Desire to improve. Writing is an ongoing process that always has room for improvement. The more you strive to improve, the more developed your writing will become. You may write what you think is your best effort, but it won’t be the best piece you can ever write. A desire to improve is a necessary mindset for success. Without it, you may miss out on drafting some of your most amazing work yet.

If you’re an experienced writer, a novice, or anything in between, what must-haves make your list?