Ideal Writer Schedule

My writing schedule

Summer is fading quickly and the routines of school and work are more normal. With that in mind, I began to reflect on what my ideal writing day would look like. As a freelance writer I’m not certain there is a “normal” day, but having a schedule to strive for is important. Scheduling makes me more efficient and holds me accountable. In the month of August I found myself wandering off course. We had a family vacation and my son attended two hockey camps, and before I knew it all of my writing routines went out the window. As you can see in the picture, I penciled out my ideal schedule. It isn’t logical to expect this schedule to be followed to the letter everyday, but I believe setting this as a goal is key to becoming the writer I want to be.

Putting Myself First

The focus for this schedule is all about me. In order for me to perform at my best I need to take care of myself. My exercise routine is sporadic at best. I try to fit it in where I can and that doesn’t work. I believe putting exercise first thing in the day will make me more productive, and center my mind to focus on writing. I pride myself on being a family man and I receive immense joy spending time with my son. Often I will do activities with him during the day and then do my writing at night. The problem with that model is my brain quits working, and my writing suffers. With my son back in school the guilt won’t be so heavy and he will have homework to complete too, so we’ll both be working.

I’m a Writer

I need to think in terms that are conducive for a writer, because I am one. If I’ve learned one thing from my mentors, is that in order to be successful I need the mindset of a business owner. Writing is not my hobby; it’s my job. I have also decided on what “type” of writer I want to be. I will author books and I will write articles. Notice how I put my creative writing in the beginning of the day when my mind is fresh. The schedule was built with writing outcomes in mind. It has been a little over a year since I stated that I will be a writer. Well, the will be is gone and action has commenced. I’m selling articles and I’ve started my first novel. By golly, I am a writer.

Putting the Cart Before the Horse

One problem, there is no way at this time I can adhere to this schedule. My writing income isn’t enough to meet household budget demands, so I’m back in the classroom teaching to make ends meet. However, in the near future I expect to make this a reality and hopefully use it as a base to meet my financial goals. And even though I’m not there yet, I believe laying out this schedule will motivate me to do even more. So I will write in between lesson plans and grading essays. It’s not a perfect scenario, but the ball is rolling in the right direction. Creating this schedule is just one more piece of the puzzle of freelance writer.

 

Do you keep a schedule? What does your ideal workday look like? What aspects of my schedule would you keep and what would you change? Please leave a comment.

Business and Fishing the 3 P’s: Patience, Presentation, Preparation

Attention: We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post to announce a tweetup happening next Tuesday August 21, 2012. Lori Widmer and myself will have a dialogue about Google Plus and the forum she co-founded for writers and creatives. The conversation begins at 6:30 ET and 3:30 PT by using the hash tags #allaboutgoogle+ and #aboutwritingsquared. Mark your calendars and join us next Tuesday on Twitter. Now back to the blog post.  

Wilson River Steelhead

Lessons I learn on the river apply to many facets of my life. Today, I compare business writing to my favorite pastime.

Patience

In order to be a good fishermen you must have patience. I have experienced numerous days where I will wait hours for that one bite. It’s tempting to leave a spot and go looking for fish, but if you have confidence in what you’re doing it will be just a matter of time for that strike to happen. The same is true in business. Much of the content I write today will not produce cash flow for weeks or months. I need to have confidence in what I’m offering and that my offer is right for the situation. I strive to make it easy for my targeted customer to find me. However, they must need what I’m offering, and reality dictates that won’t happen often. Within a given day hundreds or even thousands of fish will swim by your bait, but 99% won’t be interested. A successful day of Salmon or Steelhead fishing only requires one or two bites. A 25lb fish goes a long way in feeding my family. So is the case with customers. Land the right ones and your table is full. In our instant gratification society waiting is not something were use to, and possibly this is why studies show less young people are taking up the sport of fishing.

Presentation

There are numerous considerations and multiple combinations in choosing the correct lure and presentation for Salmon and Steelhead fishing. To the untrained eye it often looks simple. When I take a friend out for the first time they usually don’t realize all that goes into my decision process. Water temperature, light conditions, depth, current, weather, and tidal changes are just a few of the things to consider. When someone does something well the presentation just flows. As a business owner it is extremely important you’re making the

Webinar on August 28th

right presentation. I witness too many companies put out content for content sake. They do not consider their target audience and what factors could put them in a buying mood. If the content isn’t reaching the correct audience or is written poorly it won’t attract any customers. The old saying, “10% of the fishermen catch 90% of the fish” has some merit. There are many people who fish for Salmon and Steelhead days on end with nary a bite. It can be very frustrating and it is why I recommend that a newbie go with someone experienced to learn the ropes. Business owners would do well with the same advice for their content management. What my friend notices is a pole handed to him and cast to a certain spot. Often he will say, “that was easy” or “man we were lucky”. Frankly, luck and ease doesn’t play into the equation and neither should it for your business.

Preparation

The night before a fishing trip you will find me on the Internet studying the latest river levels, barometric pressure and water temperatures. Based on that information I will tie up numerous rigs, color combinations and lure sizes. I always prepare more than necessary and have a wide variety available. My days to go to the river are limited and I want have the best possible outcome. The same goes for business, because there is limited opportunity to interact with future customers. Your competition is literally at everyone’s fingertips, and our ability to change our minds with a simple click make it imperative that you do your homework. When you hire someone to write content make sure to provide complete data on your ideal customer. Extensive preparation will give you the best opportunity to land the big one.

Does this analogy make sense to you? What are your hobbies? Can you make a similar analogy? Leave me a comment below.