Hi. This is an old, unmaintained blog. You may find these sites more to your liking:

Carson Brackney: This is my primary site.

Ad Astra Traffic: Content production/article writing service.

Ad Astra Traffic Team: For those who'd like to get writing gigs with Ad Astra.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Content writer challenge...2nd half of May...

Judging by not-so-careful observations and rudimentary calculations, half of the people who read this blog are other freelance writers. The other half are potential customers and those who just happened to be searching for some obscure four-word phrase I happened to accidentally use in a completely unrelated context.

This post is aimed toward those who write. More particularly, I suppose, to those who write for online markets. Specifically, perhaps, to those who might consider themselves "content writers."

Here's the deal... My May is going pretty well. Could be better, could be worse. Last night I decided to make the 2nd half of the month better (in terms of total output and quality) than any entire month I've had so far this year. Sounds crazy? Maybe. But I think challenging oneself can be a healthy thing. And this challenge actually produces a series of rewards.

My clients get strong work faster--and I am going to try to turn out the very best stuff I have done for awhile. I am going to bend my money clip out of shape by stuffing it with more cash. I will also have to embrace a more efficient daily work model, which should help me to continue to be more productive in the future.

All it's going to take is a commitment to following through with this challenge for two weeks. They say that making these personal goals a matter of public record is supposed to subconsciously increase one's sense of accountability and can increase the likelihood of success. Well, here is that public statement.

Okay, so what does this really mean in terms of how I will approach my work? Hmmm...

Step One: Cut down on the nonsense. Anything not directly related to generating more work or completing work is a no-no during my regular hours. That means no searching for a different background graphic for my desktop or reading movie reviews. That means one blog post here and maybe two forum posts per day.

Step Two: Changing the nature of breaks. Instead of abandoning intellectually demanding work for a few minutes of downtime, I plan to switch off to the more mundane when I need a few minutes away from a project. Instead of goofing/recharging, I can send off an invoice to a slow payer or take five to grab a few more backlinks for my website. Then, I will flip back to real work.

Step Three: Tempo. Gotta increase the tempo. If I can get myself into a faster rhythm, I can get a lot done in a hurry. If I slip into a languid pace, I can just sort of type the day away in a ho-hum kind of way. Time to flip online radio away from classic jazz and to something a little bit peppier.

Step Four: Rewards. We all like getting to the carrot at the end of the stick. I already mentioned a few of the benefits to having an insane 2nd half for May, but I have sweetened the pot with a personal bonus should I reach my goal.

Step Five: Limits. Procrastination is the enemy of productivity. I am willing to work at virtually any time to get things done. That is a plus, sometimes, but it also allows me to create this illusion of infinite time. I can always stay up until 4:00 a.m. to get something done, so nothing seems to be "right around the corner." I have decided that I am going to do this while maintaining a human-friendly schedule. I will not work past 10 p.m., and will only work in the evenings after our family supper, playtime with the kid, etc. Basically, no more than an hour of night work. That should put the pressure on me to make my days more productive.

Step Six: Forcing others to participate. Hey, this kind of stuff is fun, but wouldn't it be even more fun with company? So, either mention that you are in on the plan by commenting here or drop me a line and let me know. I am also going to mention this scheme at a few forums. I would like to see if anyone else is ready to increase their performance for a few weeks. I'd also like to solicit tips, hints, etc.

Well, that's my plan. I will let you know how it's working out.