I talked to a friend and mentor the other day and she stressed the importance of being persistent and consistent in whatever you do. Initially, I was inspired to apply those key terms to another area of my life when I realized she said, “in everything you do.” It applies to article writing as well.
Are you persistent – writing despite things going on in your life or business? This is important especially if you’re a blogger, but applies to magazine and web writers as well. Blogging on a regular basis despite sickness and strife helps build and keep your audience. They know your blog isn’t another fly-by-night fancy and they will come to look for and depend on it. Good bloggers can write through any upheaval. Great bloggers write ahead so they can manage unforeseen circumstances.
Persistent writing for magazines and the web means staying on schedule no matter what is happening. It means making the deadline even if you’ve got to run to the library and work on their computers next to the kid sneaking looks at porn at the terminal next to you. It means doggedly shopping queries after rejections.
If you veer off your schedule ahead of your deadline in favor of coffee with friends or a movie with your honey, you are counting on nothing to go wrong before your deadline. How many times has this happened: You knock off early or a whole day for a little extra fun and then the day before a deadline the computer goes out? Or your cat knocks over a glass of water on your keyboard or there is a storm and the internet is affected? Now instead of pushing through work on days you’d rather play, you have to scratch to the deadline with one arm tied behind your back and an elephant standing on your foot.
Consistency in work quality
Admit it. Sometimes you give a piece a little less love and attention than others because it’s for a small publication or a content site, or because you just don’t feel like it needs that extra tuck in and kiss on the forehead. Whether the publication is big or small if you blow off an article you are blowing off a clip.
There should be nothing in your portfolio you’d be embarrassed to show to a potential client. This is different than content that is appropriate for one client while inappropriate for another. If you write about ‘personal electronic massagers’ for one client and want to write about toddler tinker toys next week, I wouldn’t show a Parents Magazine editor your article “Buzz-worthy Products for Couples.” Though if you did, it better be written well! Stop giggling folks… This is a good time and place to move to:
Are you consistent about working within your niche? When you are committed to building yourself or brand within a niche, you have little time to take work from the four corners of the world about everything under the sun. Every piece that isn’t about fly fishing does help build your credibility as a writer, but can take away from where you want to be – the featured writer for Fly Fish Monthly.
Persistent. Consistent. For the next week check to see if you are living your life and managing your freelance writing career according to these principles. If not, figure out why!
Got a tip for other writers? What principles guide your freelance career? Share below!