If it seems like I’ve been walking around in a daze lately, it’s because I have been! Last year, I had a great system going with my work: For ongoing projects (like where I might provide daily blog posts or a weekly article), I would write the content a full month in advance. It was awesome. I could write the content, send it as a batch, and have the full month to do additional research, take on extra work, and prepare content for the next month’s prewriting.
Then something happened. I’m not sure what; it might have been the busyness of the Christmas and New Year season; who knows. But I got knocked off my game. I ended up writing content the week it was due, the day it was due (and sometimes well overdue!)
Anyone who lives and breathes deadlines, like a writer does, knows that it can be dangerous to get stuck in that “just in time” mode! One delay or rewrite [or whatever, like my grandfather’s passing or my birthday or my anniversary, or tax season, or home renovations; all of these took place this spring.] adds a day here or there. Soon, every deadline is cascading into another and they’re all late.
Since getting knocked off my “pre-writing” game back in January, I’ve been trying to claw my way back to this best practice. I’ve been frequently burning the candle at as many ends as the candle has.
I’m happy to say that it’s taken me nearly 5 months but I’m nearly there. I’m nearly at the point where I can have all of my “open-order” content pre-written for the month. In fact, I’m in the process of preparing to pre-write June’s content. If I can do that in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be back to the kind of best practice that I really enjoy.
- I like it because it gives me a lot of freedom to research and write a little more creatively.
- I like it because the pressure is off to produce something today.
- I like it because it’s good for my clients to be able to receive a whole batch and schedule it in.
- I like it because it’s easier to achieve and sustain a particular voice and topic over several pieces at once than it is to switch from one voice and topic to another.
Normally I don’t like revealing one of my (many) flaws on my blog but I thought I would today. I’ve had good friends and clients ask me if everything has been okay; they either saw my frazzled look or their project rolled in later than they were expecting. Everything has been okay. Everything has been great, in fact (I’m definitely NOT complaining about consistently having as much work as I can handle)… but I’ve felt the stress of impending (and past) deadlines nearly every day and I don’t like that.
I’m always learning and one of the things I’ve learned over the past few months has been patience! I knew in January that I wasn’t getting my content pre-written and I was hoping that it would be corrected by February. But that wasn’t realistic; neither was March, nor even April (because there is a considerable amount of work that needs to be done to pre-write a month’s worth of writing!). So a 5 month course adjustment was necessary. I hated having to be that patience, but here I am on the other side, better for the experience.
Going forward, I have to figure something out: How do I keep that from happening again? How do I eliminate the possibility that I will get knocked off of this best practice? Definitely something I need to think about and mitigate.
But, assuming that all goes as planned for the next week or two, I’ll have achieved a goal that was unwittingly set for me in January. Wish me luck!