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Discussion: Setting Aside Time Each Week for Personal Projects

August 20, 2008 0 comments

Jennifer Mattern wrote an interesting topic at All Freelance Writing that I believe is inspiring and encouraging, so I thought I'd discuss her topic here at Life of a Writer, as well as add a few of my own tips on her solution to finding time to work on personal projects that could add to your freelance writing income.

In Invest in Your Writing Career and Build a Richer Future, Jennifer admitted to taking time off from her clients to work on some of her own personal projects that she hopes will add additional income to her freelance writing career. While I think Jennifer has a great idea, her post left me with a question: Did she leave her clients hanging and miss deadlines when she took the week off? This question is what prompted me to discuss her topic here today, because I wanted to include additional tips on how you could do the same thing without neglecting your clients.

I doubt Jennifer actually neglected her clients and risked losing them, so I'm assuming she took the necessary steps to arrange the week off for personal projects. However, since she didn't specify in her post what steps she took, I thought I'd let you know what steps you can take if Jennifer's post inspired you enough to set aside time each week for your personal projects. The following two steps will keep you from neglecting clients, as well as missing deadlines...

Work Ahead

One thing that may prevent you from spending an entire week on personal projects is a project for a client that you have to write each day or week. For example, if you write a blog post every Wednesday for a client, then you must meet the deadline each week, and this could interfere with the week you've devoted to a personal project. The good news is those daily and/or weekly deadlines don't have to interfere with the week you'd like to take off to work on a personal project, but the bad news is you'd have to spend a little extra time to make sure you meet the deadlines to keep your good reputation with your clients intact.

"What do I have to do?" you ask. Simple, write the article, blog post and/or etc. that will be due in advance. Yep, that's where the extra work comes in, but at least you'll keep your clients happy and be able to use the following week on a personal project. Do this for each client you write for on a daily and/or weekly basis and you should be able to set aside one week each month for personal projects to help you gain additional freelance writing income.

Take Advantage of Advanced Technology

Once you've written your clients' articles, blog posts and/or etc. in advance, you'll still be faced with the dilemma of having to turn in those projects when they're due. No problem, advanced technology allows us to schedule e-mails and blog posts in advance. With that in mind, if you've written a blog post, schedule it to go live on the date it's supposed to. If you have to send your article, blog post or etc. to your client via e-mail, then use the scheduling feature on your e-mail program to schedule the e-mail to be sent to your client on the date it is due.

There you have it: two ways to meet the deadlines with all your clients so you can set aside one week each month for personal projects.

Don't have the time to devote one week each month to personal projects? At the end of her post, Jennifer said, "If you don't want to take time away from other work, consider spending on extra hour a day writing 'for yourself' with one of these types of projects in addition to your normal work."

That last piece of advice from Jennifer leads me to a blog post I wrote back in February entitled Complete Writing Projects You've Put on the Back Burner. The information in that post is what I've been doing for a while now. However, I like Jennifer's approach better, and Lord knows I could use a whole week for one or more of my personal projects -- projects that have made their way to the back burner. With that said, I plan to follow the steps I've given above to do just what Jennifer chose to do this week. If it doesn't work out, though, I'll go back to the advice I gave in February.

For those of you who may not be able to set aside time each week for your personal projects, feel free to follow the advice in Complete Writing Projects You've Put on the Back Burner; you may not have a week to devote to your personal projects, but at least you'd have a little extra time to complete a project you've had on the back burner for way too long now.

Go ahead, use the comments section to tell me if you plan to do what Jennifer did, which is set aside time each week for your personal projects. Maybe you know of a better way to work on personal projects, feel free to share it instead.

Leave a comment to add any of your own thoughts, suggestions, tips and/or advice to this discussion.

Photo credit: Jm3

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