Your Rich and Rewarding Future

I remember my first $10,000-plus project. The total fee was $12,500, and it included a series of articles, a couple of longer special reports, and a web sales letter.

I’d crossed over into what Joseph Campbell termed “The Return” — the final phase of the “hero’s journey” when the hero has defeated her rival and returns home triumphant to help the broader community.

As a freelance writer, this is the part where we get busy.

Your new goal is to handle multiple projects simultaneously AND continue marketing your business by doing more work with existing clients and finding new clients.

But, before I offer a few concrete suggestions, and a word of warning, just one quick reminder about AWAI’s Infinity Program.

Today is the LAST day to sign up.

I’ve talked about some of the trials and tests every freelance writer faces. We’ve looked at different ways to get your first paying clients. And, we’ve emptied your bag of the things that will hold you back.

Now it’s time to fill your bag with exactly the tools and information you’ll need to succeed as a freelance writer. AWAI’s Infinity Program gives you instant access to everything — the entire kit and caboodle of training programs, webinars, seminars, audio presentations, and how-to guides that cover the gamut of writing interests.

You can venture off into distant lands as a travel writer. Or, bring about a massive shift in human consciousness by learning to write for the personal development or health and wellness markets.

Everything is possible, and you can have it all at your beck and call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Get the Infinity Program today.

And now, here’s a word of warning before I give you a few concrete suggestions on how to handle multiple projects simultaneously while continuing to market your business:

Why we don’t do what we know we “should” do.

Social scientists have shown conclusively that most people, when given the chance, will do exactly the opposite of what they know to be best.

For example, a group of nutritionists who should know better completely drained a bowl of M&M’s just because it was “free.” Doctors who know they should exercise, don’t.

So, knowing something isn’t the same as doing it. Our tendency as humans is to seek what’s pleasurable and avoid what’s not. The temptation to do anything other than what you know you should do is overwhelming when you feel stressed. Plan accordingly.

Say NO to multitasking.

Bill Bartmann says that “multitasking is multi-getting-nothing-done.” For example, while writing these articles, I shut down email and set my phone to “do not disturb.”

Work on one task at a time and don’t allow any interruptions. Most experts say that an interruption or distraction will set you back a minimum of 15 minutes, and up to 30 for a long interruption. That is, it will take you several minutes to get back into whatever you’re doing, and at least 15 minutes to return to the same level of focus.

Ten interruptions in a day equals almost three hours of lost time. That’s three hours you could have been doing something more productive.

You are multitasking whenever you stop doing one task to do another, whether it’s to glance at email, answer the phone, or even look at Caller ID when the phone rings.

It never ceases to amaze me how much I can accomplish when I remember to avoid distractions and stay focused on the task at hand. I also know that whenever I feel “stuck” in my writing, I will actively seek out distractions. My guess is that you’ll do something similar. Watch for it and practice “distraction abstinence.”

Plan your accomplishments.

I got this one from a guy named Steve Little. Instead of creating a to-do list, which rarely feels good, Steve suggests that you plan your accomplishments.

Let’s say that one of your goals is to lay out the complete sales letter you’re writing. First thing in the morning, write this down as an accomplishment: “I celebrate the fact that I completed the layout for the sales letter today.”

It sounds a bit woo-woo, but I’ve used this approach effectively. There’s something about it that sets your mind up for success, whereas it’s easy to fudge on a to-do item and simply move it to the next day.

Steve also suggests that you actually plan for accomplishing the things that give you satisfaction in your life, such as “I loved my quality time with Suzie today,” or “I feel great after a long, hard five-mile run.”

Put these accomplishments into your calendar and block out the time to live the kind of life that you want to live.

Why wait?

Work in intervals.

You’ve heard this one before. Whether you choose to work in intervals of 33 minutes, 40 minutes, or 60 minutes, chunk out your time so that you have intervals of focused work on ONE task separated by rest time.

Some performance experts say that you should include specific times for complete mental rest, where you work out or do something that is completely outside of the realm of what you do for work. I’ve found that a vigorous workout in the early afternoon when I start to drag will bring me right back to being productive.

Sometimes you simply have to take your mind off writing, even (and especially) with tight deadlines.

Allow “subconscious” time for projects.

Many people assume that managing multiple projects at once is harder than doing one at a time. It’s counter-intuitive, but I’ve found that I get more done in less time when I have more than one simultaneous project.

The reason is simple: our brains need time to ruminate and digest the work we do. Writing is hard work, and it’s actually much more difficult to stay completely focused on one project all day than it is to focus on multiple projects one-at-a-time throughout the day.

Split up your day. If you have more than one project, then give time to each project during the day. If you only have one project, then split your day so that you work on your project some, and then give it a rest by working on your marketing.

Your unconscious mind will continue working on the details of your project while your conscious mind is focused on something else. Then, when you return to the idle project, you’ll have fresh ideas and perspectives that weren’t apparent before.

Finally, DO schedule time every week for marketing, especially when you’re busy with “paid” work. Doing so will eliminate the feast-famine cycle that plagues most freelance writers.

You Are Now a Hero!

Congratulations. You’ve completed the hero’s journey. You accepted the call, successfully navigated the various tests and trials that were placed before you. And, now you get to reap the rewards of the writer’s life.

May you have a rich and rewarding future.

I’d love to know where you are on your journey to living the writer’s life. Share it with me in the comments below, and let me know if there's anything you need to help move forward.

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Published: June 3, 2011

2 Responses to “Your Rich and Rewarding Future”

  1. Sid,

    Thank You: what a terrific article.

    Your ideas are down-to-earth, practical.

    I like your tips.

    I like to focus on one thing at a time. While working on a project or assignment, I want to stay away from distractions and interruptions.

    During this time, I am lost to the world. I might as well be living on Mars, but that is what works for me.

    I am not much of a multi-tasker. During intervals, I like to complete chores and run errands.

    However, this method may not work for everybody.

    Archan Mehta

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