Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Top 3 Freelancing Mistakes

It's been two months since I started writing and marketing my writing in an intentional way. That may be a very short period of time; however, it has been plenty of time to make plenty of mistakes. So I decided it was time to create a Top 3 List.

1. Read Less and Write More
One of the first things I did as a new freelancer was subscribe to every blog on writing and freelancing I could find that seemed interesting and contained helpful information. Find the experts and see what they're saying. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Yes, and no.

Many other bloggers have mentioned it. There comes a time when there is simply not enough time to read every blog in your RSS inbox. More importantly, the time I spent reading what others had to say about writing was time I should really have been writing myself. When you're on a limited time budget, you have to make the best use of your time. I've learned to sort out a few really helpful blogs and let the rest go until I really have a moment of downtime.

2. Not All Work is Good Work
The second thing a budding freelancer always does is look for work. But taking every writing job that comes your way can be a trap. Not every job is worth it, as the Urban Muse has noted. Even though I've only been freelancing seriously for a few months, this was a lesson I quickly learned. Since I'm still a full-time wage slave, my time is of the essence. I already have to look into the nooks and crannies of my life to find the time to write. A job that takes two hours to research and pays the same as a job that only takes one hour may not be the best job for me.

3. Put the "B" List on the List
I love writing. Writing isn't really work to me; it's more of a passion. The problem is, there are other things I'm equally passionate about, like my family. One of my biggest frustrations in freelancing has been not having enough time to write. This is a topic I've researched extensively on all of those blogs I mentioned in number 1. Jennifer, over at Catalyst Blogger, even responded to the question personally, which I truly appreciate. There's a lot of great advice out there, but most of the bloggers I've read who made the switch from Corporate America to Freelancer weren't married or didn't have children. Like it or not, that does make a difference. On the other hand, we're all busy.

I'm a list maker and a planner. If an event or activity isn't on my calendar, it doesn't exist in my world. I have been this way for years. It's how I keep my busy life organized. I've been great at putting writing deadlines on my calendar. I realized, though, that there is a whole area of my writing that frankly tends to be overlooked. I have a "B" list of writing tasks. This includes things like updating my portfolio, putting together queries, researching articles I'd "like" to write, you know the stuff. This is the list that isn't due today. I've learned to assign it a due date and put it on my daily "to do" list. I may move its due date down because I have more pressing things due today, but at least it will get done one day soon, which is more than I can say for my "B" list.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Project Management World

If you're interested in the project management world, you can find my new article discussing Goldratt's Theory of Constraints here.