Thoughtful Thursday: How's that Working For You?

By Terreece M. Clarke

Tuesday in “Date Your Publication” we talked about getting to know the publications you want to query and got some great feedback, specifically from Mary who commented on how frustrating her first year writing was because she hadn’t tailored her queries to specific publications. Once she started however, her success rate climbed. Mary is an excellent example of a great writer stopping to take stock in their career to see where things could be improved.

This time of year is a great time to take stock in your career and goals as Deb wrote in her “Setting Goals for 2009” post. What worked for you in your freelancing career? What didn’t? How is your querying process? Your time managment? What about your sources?

In other words, to channel Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?” A successful freelance career depends on being able to adapt so making the same mistakes – rush work, scrambled billing practices, not so great, or worse, tired sources are not going to get you to your goals. You’ll never be able to take James’ advice on “Preparing Yourself for Better Writing Rates” if you can’t justify an increase. Think about these areas of your writing life:

  • Are you meeting your deadlines?
  • Do you allow sufficient time to edit and proof your work or are you always rushing to the finish line?
  • If an editor called you today to check on a sources’ quote, could you find the notes?
  • A client is disputing a bill, could you pull up the accounting information, including hours?
  • Quick, what are your average business expenses for a month?
  • Could you find a clip in your clip file from 2006? What about last month?

Take a little time this Thoughtful Thursday evening and ask yourself “How’s that working for you?”


  1. says

    Thanks for the post. It was just the kick in the pants that I needed to get going again. It still amazes me how I can be going along so smoothly and then realize until I realize that I’ve stopped moving. This post was the icing on the reminders that I’ve gotten today that it is time to get back to work.

  2. says

    My mind can be like a sieve when it comes to news briefs and short pieces — I barely recognize the work as my own by the time it finally appears in print! Filing notes and clips in an accessible way is a real challenge once you’ve built up a fair catalog of work. Thanks for a great reminder on why it’s so important to keep at it.

  3. says

    Organization is key.

    One thing I just started doing is leaving copies of my unpaid invoices in a to-file pile, so at a glance I can see what’s outstanding. I didn’t even realize one of my regular clients was regularly paying me late!

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