Successful freelance writing: Barbara's story

Being a freelancer often means working long stretches of time on your own. While there are many benefits to this modern way of working, sometimes the isolation can feel like you are Tom Hanks stranded on an island, with no one to interact with except a laptop named Wilson. Here at focus booster, we are focused on making every part of your freelance experience more enjoyable. So, I'm very excited to welcome you to the new focus booster community!

For years now, we have been reading your amazing and inspiring emails, in which you share how focus booster has improved your life in one way, or another. It's now time we share some of these wonderful stories from some of our most productive users. We hope their journeys inspire you, and that their productivity tips and tricks add real value to your life.

Our first customer profile comes from California-based freelance writer Barbara Ward. Last year she found herself in need of a new job, but this time instead of updating her Linkedin, going through the interview process, and settling for the safe path. She decided it was time to take the plunge and start her career as a full-time freelance writer.

Although Barbara has been writing all of her life, she credits the book "How to Make a Living with Your Writing" by Joanna Penn for showing her how to turn her passion into her full-time job. She implemented many of the tips found in the book and quickly gained many clients through and in less than a year she is already one of the top-rated freelance writers on the site, with a 100% client satisfaction rate. Shortly after Barbara's breakthrough came when she was offered to write for the LGBT-focused site Being a long time fan of the site she was over the moon when the contract came in. She says “I probably shouldn't admit this, but I would have written for them for free!" Here are Barbara's three most important productivity tips that helped her make all of this happen.

1: Use tools that bring you joy

Every morning Barbara uses a dedicated bullet journal to sit down with a strong cup coffee and plan out her day. In a world where we look at screens for a majority of our day. She likes the fact that she can start her mornings with a crisp page and smooth pen. Throughout the day in between Pomodoro sessions she loves to spend time decorating her many bullet journals. She has a dedicated journal for just about everything.

2: Use focus booster to track productivity

Although Barbara is a strong believer in using paper tools whenever possible, she is also really interested in measuring how her intentions stack up to her results. This is where focus booster comes in. Barbara carefully selects her most important tasks for the day and writes down how many Pomodoro sessions it will take her to get each task done. At the end of the day, she checks the focus booster dashboard to see if she met her goals.

3: Constantly look for ways to improve

Barbara is currently reading the book “The Productive Person" by Chandler Bolt. In which Bolt goes over how important it is for freelancers to do some introspection and truly understand just what kind of productivity help they need. Bolt says this contemplation will bring freelancers closer to finding their unique productivity style that will maximize their results.

One area she is currently working to improve is in her work life balance. Often there are days where she ends up working 14+ hour days (20+ Pomodoro sessions). She mentions that this is in part due to the creative process and the fact that sometimes the muse strikes and she feels obliged to follow it.

Barbara's passion and dedication make us proud to be part of her life. You can read some her articles over at and of course at If you would like to be featured in this series yourself, shoot us an email over at We would love to hear from you!

Written in 8 pomodoro sessions, from San Francisco, CA.