Happy new year!
Who else feels like they're still playing catch up from 2019? Seriously, I'm having a hard time believing it's already a new year, let alone a new decade! 2019 was an incredibly busy and exciting year for me. My first year as a full-time freelance writer was equal parts scary, overwhelming, stressful, liberating, and thrilling.
Even though the year went by super fast, I managed to match my full-time income at my previous job which is (in my opinion) very impressive. That being said, there were definitely some less than stellar moments—from problem clients to bouts of imposter syndrome, slow months to being unprepared, and so on and so forth.
Despite setbacks and trying to figure out/manage all the things, I'm very happy with how the year went. Freelancing has been such a blessing for me. Being able to work from anywhere has made it so easy for me to visit my family every few months but to take some really fun trips. In 2019, I traveled out of the country for the very first time to Belgium; spent a week hiking, biking, and exploring in Duluth, Minnesota; and took several “staycations” around the Twin Cities area.
Here's a look at some of the highlights from 2019:
- Blog Posts Published on The Quiet Type: 64
- Guest Posts Written: 3
- Words Written: 5,592,368
- Books Read: 119
- Time Spent Listening to True Crime Podcasts: 4,495 minutes (I couldn't help myself; I just had to throw this in here!)
Like I said, it was a really good year! Anyways, let's take a peek at how December went…
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December Goal Review
I can't believe I'm officially done with my 2019 Powersheets planner! Full disclosure, I think this is the very first time I've stuck it out an entire year with a planner like this. I mean, I've completed two daily-at-a-glance planners and am about to start my third, but for some reason goal setting planners like this are harder for me to stick with. I tried the Daily Greatness Planner a few years ago and only made it about 6 months in before I called it quits.
Anyways, I'll be sharing my full review on my experience with the Powersheets planner in the new year, so if you're on the fence about trying it out check back then. If you want to get your hands on your own Powersheets planner, the 2020 version is now available and there are some super cute designs. Get your own here!
Here’s how I filled out December's Trending List in my Powersheets Planner:
Define my goals and set my intentions for 2020! ✅
Monthly Action Items
- Publish 4 new blog posts on The Quiet Type ✅
- Publish 2 new blog posts on my business website ❌
- Send 2 emails to The Quiet Type subscribers ✅
- Update my blog theme (I purchased the Willow theme from 17th Ave Designs during the Black Friday sale.) ✅
- Prep my business for 2020 ✅ → Check out this blog post to see what that entailed
- Send holiday cards to my clients ✅ → Get my best tips for sending client holiday cards from this blog post.
Weekly Action Items
- Check + respond to blog comments ✅
- Post 3 Facebook posts ✅
- Publish 1 new blog post ✅
Daily Action Items
- Gratitude ✅
- Read ✅
Blog Posts I Published in November
All in all, I published 4 new posts and updated a couple of existing blog posts along the way.
- Best of November 2019 + Powersheets Update
- 7 Ways to Prepare Your Freelance Business for the New Year
- Free Up More Time as a Freelancer With These 5 Tips
- New Year’s Resolutions for Freelancers to Make in 2020
- 5 Tips for Sending Holiday Cards to Your Freelance Clients in 2019
- 20+ Gift Ideas for Bloggers
- 30+ Gift Ideas Writers Are Sure to Love
Free Tools I've Been Loving
This is going to come as no surprise to those of you who have been following along, but my #1 tool of the month is Grammarly. It saves me so much time with editing and I really love the built-in thesaurus feature! I tested out a free 30-day trial of Grammarly premium in October and I loved it so much, I upgraded during Grammarly's Black Friday sale.
One of the coolest features of Grammarly premium is the plagiarism checker. As a freelance writer, I want my clients to have original content, so having the ability to compare work to billions (yes, billions!) of online works is so helpful. Grammarly will highlight content that matches another site and create a citation for it.
Another feature I love is that I can set “goals” for whatever I'm writing. Basically, you customize how Grammarly checks the document by selecting goals for your audience, domain, formality, tone, and intent. Then it gives you suggestions to help your writing fit those goals. So cool! If you haven’t checked it out yet, you definitely should!
My Favorite Blog Posts from December
- 7 Ways Freelance Writers Can Use LinkedIn to Attract New Clients (The Write Life)
- 30 Websites that Pay Up to $700 for a Blog Post (Twins Mommy)
- Three Pricing and Negotiation Mistakes Creatives Make (HoneyBook)
- Business Personality Test (HoneyBook) → This is such a cool concept and I highly recommend taking the quiz to learn some actionable steps to help your biz succeed!
Books I Loved in December
While I read 9 books in December. Of the 9, these are my top three:
*This was my Book of the Month choice for December. Interested in getting a FREE book? Use my link to sign up for a Book of the Month membership and you’ll receive a free new release hardcover book of your choice! I always look forward to the first of the month when the new selections are released for Book of the Month. Check it out here!
Magic Moment of December
Last month, I heard about this website called Help a Reporter Out from Ana at The She Approach. It's basically a site where journalists can submit inquiries to find sources for their articles. Ana was talking about how it's a great way to get exposure for your blog or business, so I tried it out in November. One of the very first inquiries I responded to was from Authority Magazine and they were looking to interview entrepreneurs who have turned a hobby into a business. I thought it was maybe a shot in the dark but I heard back from the editor at the beginning of December that they wanted to interview me!
I'm not sure when the interview will be published but I'm so excited!
Update: The interview is live on Authority Magazine! You can check it out here: “From Avocation To Vocation: How I Turned My Hobby Into A Career With Katie Jenison”
I was also featured in CEO Blog Nation's roundup, “21 Entrepreneurs List Their Favorite Business Books of 2019,” where I shared why I loved Atomic Habits by James Clear. Check it out here!
I decided I'm going to hold off on these month in review blogs in 2020. I'll still share all the great tools and resources I find with my email list and on my social media channels, so be sure to follow along:
Even though I'm not going to do Powersheets updates going forward, I'll be doing a review on my experience using the Powersheets planner sometime in January. So, if you're on the fence about purchasing one, you can get an inside look at my experience. **Spoiler alert: I ended up purchasing a 2020 Powersheets planner.
Alright, I think that’s everything! If you’d like to check out my previous roundups to see the other freebies and goodies I’ve recommended in the past, click here.