I do a monthly “weigh-in” with my mentees, where we all talk about our goals and accomplishments for the month. One of my mentees noted this week that April was a slow month because “I spent the first two weeks of April recovering from being busy in March.”
Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute there. Two weeks recovering? It is impossible to earn well if you need two weeks to get over it after you have a rush period.
As it happens, I had an insane rush the last two weeks of April. Two small-business clients needed four blogs apiece, another Web site needed a blog entry plus social-media links, I was blogging once or twice a day for BNET, plus three weekly blogs for a national magazine, and four fully reported articles were also due for various other clients. It was high-intensity, round-the-clock crazy. And if I let any deadlines slip, I might lose a client, or at the very least see thousands of income push into the next month. That latter is an insidious development I try to avoid as it always leads inevitably to lower annual earnings. Losing clients obviously I try to avoid as well!
I recovered from this deadline onslaught by taking all of Saturday off, as I always do. If I really want to recharge, I also don’t turn on the computer at all on Sunday…I think this time I might have just checked in for an hour or two. I garden, read to my kids, go for walks, cook, stretch, see friends. Then on Monday, I’m back at it.
I think a lot of new writers are coming into this field without ever having had to file on a regular basis. I filed four stories a week for more than six years at one point in my career, for instance. What that experience gave me is strong writing muscles. The more you research, write, and meet deadlines, the more you learn how to do it time-efficiently and without wiping yourself out. That ability to keep yourself healthy — and to bounce back, recover quickly, and be ready for more work — is key to upping your earnings.
No matter where you’ve started in writing and where you’re at now, you can think about how to make your writing work more sustainable. As you move up, you’ll get more difficult assignments, tougher editors, tighter deadlines. And you’ll need to be able to handle it all in stride and be ready for more next week.
What do you do to recharge after a big pile of writing assignments get filed? Leave a comment and share your tips.
Photo via Flickr user steve.ie