This year, the Fourth of July falls smack dab in the middle of the week. If people didn’t take off Monday and Tuesday, they’re taking off Thursday and Friday.
Either way, nobody’s around.
And that’s not a bad thing. There’s a lot that you can get done when you’re working and nobody else is, especially if you’re not on an urgent deadline.
Here are some practical, productive things freelancers can do to maximize the slow times that happen around holidays:
1. Update your bio and resume.
2. Freshen up your social media profiles. No need to reinvent the wheel. Use language from your updated resume and bio to redo your profiles on your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook fan pages and any other social media accounts.
3. Start an e-newsletter.
4. Research story ideas.
5. Clear out your email inbox.
6. Clear out the piles on your desk. You know you won’t have time to deal with these once you’re back on deadline.
7. Create a blog. Here’s a few tips for how to start a blog.
8. Get a new head shot. Ask a friend to take it for you, or find a freelance photographer who’s around during the holiday week and wouldn’t mind earning a couple extra bucks.
9. Take a class online. News U. has a bunch.
10. Practice using your phone. Use it to record interviews or shoot video.
11. Read a book. Grab a print or e-book on a subject you cover or an aspect of writing that you’ve been meaning to learn more about.
11. Read for fun. If you read my weekly recommended reading for writers, you know I’m a big fan of reading good writing in order to do good writing.
12. Declutter your office. Paint the walls. Move furniture around. Hang an inspiration board.
13. Get a new office chair. Your back will thank you.
14. Uninstall smartphone apps. Toss whatever you’re not using. It’s amazing how much space they consume.
15. Teach yourself to use Evernote or another productivity tool.
16. Upgrade. Get the latest version of Chrome or whatever web browser you use.
17. Create a “Greatest Hits” page. Your blog needs one. Here’s my 101 most popular posts.
18. Update your “Clips” page. Mine is so out of date it’s embarrassing.
19. Send queries or letters of introduction. Pitch editors at publications you’ve been thinking about approaching.
20. Start outlining a book proposal.
21. Sign up for a writer’s conference. Watch for a list of upcoming writers’ conferences I’m publishing next week.
22. Call a writer friend to catch up. Share how the year’s going so far and what your goals are for the next six months. Facebook is great, but it’s still no substitute for a good old-fashioned chat.
23. Sign up for Pinterest. Create boards for your resume, blog and subjects you cover, and start collecting images to put on them. Read this transcript of the last #wclw chat to see how other writers are using Pinterest.
24. Move your work outside. You might not be going someplace exotic, but even working in the backyard or the neighborhood pool can feel like a holiday.
25. Book your next vacation. Even busy freelancers need to get away every once in a while.
What do you do when everyone else is on vacation?