Monday, August 17, 2009

5 Tips to Stay Productive

This week's posts will focus on staying productive during slower times--namely, the summer months and the holidays. Wednesday's guest blogger, Jodi Webb, will offer some great tips on keeping that output strong even when you feel like spending the last few weeks of summer lounging poolside.

However, to get you ready for Wednesday's post, here are a few of my own tips for staying productive:

1.) Do a little at a time. If you're working on a lengthy or complicated piece, do as much as you can handle at one sitting. Set up a timeline so you can keep yourself on track, but don't feel as though you need to tackle the whole thing in one day.

2.) Work on a variety of projects. I'm lucky to be working on a few different projects, between my own assignments and things I've taken on through my involvement in my writer's group. If I get bored with one of my columns, I can go back to the children's book I'm helping to write for the group, or develop a query or two. If you have a few different things to work on, you'll get bored less quickly.

3.) Get caught up. Do you have some half-finished essays sitting around that you've been meaning to tackle "when I have time", or a query that's been percolating in the back of your mind for months? If the rest of your workload is dwindling, create some assignments of your own and get back to those long-forgotten projects.

4.) Re-visit old story ideas. Perhaps you hit a stride with some of the ideas you pitched, and were busy developing the articles. Now they're wrapped up, so it's time to send out a few more queries. Check out your old notebooks, emails, lists, or wherever you jotted down your next money-making idea and see if there's any interest with editors.

5.) Follow up with editors. Don't be too quick to write off the summer as non-productive! You may still have some work waiting out there if you follow up with the editors you've queried. If you had no response to your initial query, send a follow-up and ask them what the status might be for your article. Editors have a long list of demands on their time, and it's possible that they haven't had a chance to reply to you. Help them out. I'll usually cut and paste my original query into my follow up email so they're not scrambling to find it in their inbox.

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