1) Get a contract. We covered that in the last post, but I think it bears repeating.
2) Make sure they pay at least half upfront. Redundant as well, but there it is.
3) Get a good chair. There is a lot of sitting in this job, your posterior will thank you.
4) Make time for exercise. See number 3 for an explanation.
5) Make friends who understand what you are trying to do. You’ll get tired of the eye rolls real quick. Don't let yourself be isolated by the doubters or you’ll quit.
6) Disconnect the Internet if you aren’t doing research. I don’t mean permanently, that’s crazy talk people! I mean, if you don’t HAVE to be on the Internet, don’t. Hours of productivity have been lost to Facebook and Pinterest. Don’t get sucked in!
7) Set a schedule and stick to it. It’s easy to “get to it later” or to get sucked in to an interesting project. Both are destructive if you let them be. Treat yourself and your business like it matters. Set office hours and keep them. Don’t forget the reason you left the office in the first place. I’ll bet it wasn’t so you could be broke or work 80 hours a week.
8) Have some fun. This job, the business of storytelling and information gathering, is a joy if you will let it be. Let it be. Be professional, be hardworking, but don’t lose sight of the joy the writing gives you. It would be a shame to lose that in the race for financial subsistence.
There you have it. Two weeks of common sense advice that you have probably already learned, but need reminding of. This is your job, your life, and your passion. Care for it, and yourself, like it means something and you can’t go wrong.
Now, I am off to write my first professional query and, probably, be rejected out of hand. Good Hunting my friends!