I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Make sure you have your priorities straight! I’ve recently hit a slump in my writing endeavors and it’s entirely my own fault. I have 3 or 4 things on the go. The most important is some web content I’m writing for a friend’s business. That needs to get done first. Then, I promised a musician a review of her album but it kept getting pushed back. I feel bad, it’s not a paying job, but it’s something that can help her. Then, there’s a blog that I’ve been talking about writing for the wonderful man who does my hair. Because I’ve had all these projects on the backburner, I’ve not had the presence of mind to actually finish any of it.
What Are Your Deadlines and What Can Wait?
The no-brainer is usually to start with whatever has the tightest deadline. If you have 3 days to complete something and have other scattered deadlines for other work, make sure you get that first one done well in advance. I’ve had issues with juggling several jobs at once and have had to forego on sleep a few times to catch up. If you stay a day ahead of schedule, not only will you be well prepared for any rewrites, but you will also impress your client.
Does It Pay? If Not, What Do YOU Get From It?
I have realized that there are a lot of things that I don’t have in my portfolio. Music reviews being on that list, I’ve approached some people about their own work so that I can pad up that resumé. Even if nobody ever reads your stuff or sadly, never visits your site, at least you have it. It will come in handy when applying for paying jobs of the same nature. But remember, just because something doesn’t pay, doesn’t mean you can’t get something else out of it. I’m bartering my services for my friends and in return, they will be designing my own personal website (stay tuned!)
What Will Happen If You Don’t Finish?
This should not be an option. As a writer, whenever I have work that seems to be too much of an undertaking, be it too technical or the pay is really not in line with the amount of research/work put into it, it hurts to have to turn the job down. In cases such as these though, if it’s not worth your time, don’t agree to do it. It looks bad on you if you have to cancel a contract. It looks even worse if you can’t meet a deadline. If there is no imposed deadline, MAKE ONE. I get nervous with looming deadlines and I like to keep a clean desk, so I crank the work out as fast as I can, while maintaining a concise, professional piece.
I am forcing myself to finish an outline this week. Once that is off my shoulders, it’s music review time. Then hair time. Then maybe I can go back to getting some more steady work? Time will tell! All I know is, I will be happy when I press the “send” button on all three.