If you freelance write/ blog for a living, you might have run into a problem that’s cropped up for me in the past: that of working on two articles at once for one client, unable to decide which one will get done sooner. While you might have the freedom to decide, it’s possible that neither one gets done on time if you’re indecisive.
The importance of pillar/ flagship/ comprehensive content on a blog has been much touted. However, when you do it for a client, it’s potentially more of a money-loser if you’re indecisive. To wit, if you have the option of six short articles at $20 each or one larger article at $120, which do you choose? That $120 article might take a bit of research, writing and editing, whereas you might be able to write the short ones with little to no research.
Even worse is when you have the option to work on several large articles, all of which might require an yet unknown amount of research. What if you spent half the week scoping out four articles, starting two or three, and then got stumped. Maybe it’s the fifth article that you didn’t scope out that you could have completed by now.
Four articles half-done means no billables for the week. Obviously, this method of writing can be a real money loser, especially if you have too many open options. If you have this sort of problem, here are a few tips to conquer it:
- Stay in tune. Creative personalities (i.e., us writers) do go through periods where we question our self-worth. It’s natural. Deal with it by keeping up to date in your niche(s). At the very least, maybe you can reflect upon goings on, if you are having trouble with something original.
- Scope it out. If you have ten articles to write this week and you are not disciplined, you’d better spend an hour or two on Monday (or better yet, Sunday evening) scoping out ALL ten articles. You can make a list, but I prefer to mind map what I’m working on, in a single map, to get an overview of my week’s work. I can add details as necesary. Estimate how much time each article will take, and what type of tasks are necessary to complete each one.
- Make a decision. When you’ve scoped everything out, trust your gut instinct (built up from your experience) as to which article to work on first. I know that every single time I don’t trust myself, I end up with an unproductive week and no billables.
- Get to work. Made your decision? Good, now get to work. Add details to your mind map, for your given article, or just simply start writing. It depends on your technique.
Us creative types do get moody, but you can increasing your effective DPH (dollars per hour) with a little bit of planning, and being aware of what your options really are.
If you do get stuck on the article you’ve picked, you’ll have to make a tough decision: stick with it until it’s finished, or pick another article to work on. Before you do the latter, though, try taking a break or a change of scenery. Sometimes, that’s all you need.