Thursday, January 10, 2008

"Just Hit Send": January 2008

The fantastic people over at the Absolute Write forums have a challenge every month called "Just Hit Send," where writers list their goals for the month and then encourage each other to stick to them. It's about getting over (or at least ignoring) your fears and what-ifs and just applying for gigs or submitting your work. If you get rejected, you get rejected...but at least you're putting yourself out there. In the meantime, you commiserate with people who are doing the same thing, and you celebrate your successes and share your frustrations together.

I've been a lurker on the Absolute Write boards for a while, and I've watched several months' worth of JHS challenges. But I've always been too scared to throw my hat into the ring. There's just something very intimidating about stating your goals on a public forum where anyone can see it. What if you chicken out? What if you fail? Now you won't be the only one who knows about it. Public humiliation abounds.

On the other hand, publicly stating your goals makes you a little more resolute about sticking to them, which is why JHS has been so successful for so many writers on that board.

In a way, this blog is sort of a mega-personal, year-long JHS challenge. So it seems only fitting that this month was the first time I bit the bullet and posted my goals in that thread.

On Jan. 2, here's what I listed as my goals for the month:

1. Blog at least five times a week.
2. Spend at least an hour a day researching markets, sending out queries, and applying for freelance gigs.
3. A little more specific...send out one query a week and apply for five freelance gigs per week.
4. Be more proactive about leaving comments on blogs I frequent and contributing to discussions on boards like these (AW) instead of just lurking.

It's now the end of the second week of January. I've been falling behind a bit on some of those goals, but I'm doing pretty well on others.

Blog at least five times a week. I think this post makes three so far this week, so if I post again tomorrow and once over the weekend, I'll have hit that. Here's to keeping it going strong.

Spend at least an hour a day researching markets. Check. Actually, I think I'm over-researching, to the point where I'm not getting any actual writing done. Still, it's important to know what's out there. I just need to manage my time a little better.

Send out one query a week and apply for five freelance gigs per week. I haven't been super-proactive about crafting queries and sending them out, but I have applied for a few freelance gigs this week. I've had one rejection so far from a start-up company who needed web copy and a few press releases written, but I was apparently out of his price range. I also applied for a content-writing gig at Love to Know, and I'm sending in my résumé to the people who put together the ACT standardized tests, since they need essay writers for their reading-comprehension sections. I could do better, but this is the most proactive I've been about getting work since...ever.

Leave more comments on blogs. I am getting better about that, especially when I feel like I have something to contribute to the discussion. I'm quiet and a lurker by nature, but you can't get anywhere in this business without making friends on the 'Net.

So I think I've done fairly well so far, but I know I could step it up a bit. Well, to paraphrase the famous saying, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of January. We'll see how the rest of the month shapes up.

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