Last week, I wrote about my fondness for lists. Usually, the material on my lists is ever-changing, depending on which assignments are coming due and which clients have hired me.
There are five items, however, that remain on my list every single day. They should probably be on your list, too.
Even if you have more work than you can possibly handle, make time every day to market yourself and to market your products. Market in multiple different ways: Networking, cold calling, direct mail, email, participating in forums and, if you can afford it, running advertisements.
Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman, Michael Larsen, and David Hancock wrote in their book, Guerilla Marketing for Writers: 100 No-Cost and Low-Cost Weapons for Selling Your Work, that writers should market
That's a lot of marketing! But let's be honest, it also brings in a lot of business!
2. Looking for New Gigs
When I first started my writing career, job searches often took me hours. I applied for anything and everything that sounded even halfway promising. I read each word in each ad. Today, I have that process streamlined to an art. First, I only look at the jobs that interest me, usually the ones in health care, law, real estate, and relationships. So if the job title is "Need 50 Articles on Folding Chairs," um...I think I'll pass.
Next I look at the pay scale. If it isn't listed or if it's ridiculously low, I don't even waste my time with an application.
After I've applied my criteria, I usually end up with three to five jobs each day that I find interesting. I send in quick applications, following the directions, of course, and move on. Some of them pan out, some of them don't. That's life in the freelance world.
3. Follow Up
If a prospect calls me or emails about a project, it's only good manners to respond, even if you know you have no intention of accepting the project. Who knows? They may be so impressed with my courtesy that they refer me to other people with whom I do want to work! Another type of follow-up I do is contacting clients with whom I have previously had a good working relationship. Sometimes that kind of check-in nets me nothing but a friendly email, but a surprising amount of the time, it results in work. ("I've had this manuscript sitting on my hard drive for three months now...")
I love to buy and read books and magazines about both the craft and the business of writing. I try to set aside at least half an hour each day to read some new publication. It's a nice break from typing, and as an added bonus, I almost always pick up some new idea or technique.
5. Take a Break
Who do you think gets more done? The person who works tirelessly without stopping, or the person who takes regular short breaks? If you guessed the person who takes the breaks gets more done, you're absolutely right. A walk around the block, a high-protein snack, a pause to hang up laundry, or even a brief power nap can clear your mind and refresh you physically and mentally so that you can return to your job with renewed vigor.
Those are the tasks that I make myself do every day, in the mood or not. What tasks are on your "must-do" list?
My newest book, Hospice Tails, is now available through Amazon (paperback and Kindle), Barnes and Noble (paperback and NOOK), Ingram Book Company, and Booklocker.com.