I’m learning a lesson as I build my business here, and I have a feeling I’m in good company. I’ve been making good progress on my client work, but my own sites have been… neglected.
It’s really a bit embarrassing. Here I am, promoting myself as a writer and a blogger, while my poor blogs sit there with just one post a week, in desperate need of a design facelift as well. This post you’re reading now? It’s been percolating in my mind since last Thursday, but I never sat here to write it until today. Tuesday.
I need to do something about this.
Schedule Time for Personal Projects
It’s time to take that handy little planner my husband made me get, and schedule time to write my own stuff, as if I was a client. I don’t want to short-change my clients, so I’ll be putting in “overtime” to get my own blog posts written. It’s going to take a little while to get in the habit of thinking of my own projects as client work, but I realize that it has to be done. Otherwise, I’m a bit of a hypocrite for suggesting other people do the same.
Why bother with scheduling time for personal projects? I’m looking at it this way: I want to gain some more self-sufficiency. My own blogs aren’t bringing in more than a what my Grandpa used to call “pizza money,” but with a little time and effort, I think I can change that. I may be doing well with client work right now, but what happens if that work dries up? I need a back up plan.
It would be nice if my own projects eventually become successful enough to take the place of writing for clients. It’s a goal, but not one I’m pinning all of my hopes on. I am, after all, a writer and not a marketer. Oh, I know, I’ve worked for a marketing company, but I did what I do best, and other people did the actual marketing work. The Internet isn’t exactly a place where “If you build it, they will come” applies. I suppose that learning about how this whole marketing thing works will be something like company-sponsored training, where I’m sponsoring myself!
Who else is in the same boat I’m in? If you’re great at working on client projects but not your own, join me in an effort to treat yourself like a client. Schedule some time every day – or several times a week – to work on projects for yourself. Are you in? Let me know!
I think the better question is who isn’t in this boat? Any time you’re dealing with this industry you’re having trouble finding time. I worked over 10 hours a day on average last month (227 for the month) and that left ZERO time for anything other than kids, wife and sleep.
I’ll get in with you on this though. I’ll give half my lunch to personal projects and see where it takes me and for how long 🙂
Good point! I think even an hour a week is a good start at making yourself a priority. It doesn’t matter if you write, design, program, or what – I’m quite happy to encourage anyone to join in! Let me know how it goes, or if it’s just one big FAIL. 😉
Erica M says
Great advice! I actually took time out for my own project this week, and in 2 days I set up a site to explain what I do. I’ve been doing this for months, and every time I tell someone about it, or talk to a potential client they want to see my site, but I didn’t have one! Pretty bad when you’re offering web design/hosting! haha
But, now I have the site up and it feel GREAT!
Good for you, Erica! I hope it works out well for you.
Michelle Diane says
Psst! I’ll tell you a secret. Lean in real close…I don’t even have a blog. There, I said it! Yup, been meaning to start one for…oh…I dunno. A year? I either don’t have time or when I do, you know what stops me? I can’t think of a good title. I could just follow your example and go with my name, but I’ve been trying to come up with something witty and clever. Yeah, we see how that’s working out.
And before you ask, I have checked on registering my name as a domain–it’s taken. Thing is, I can’t remember if I’m the one who registered it, or if I did, where I did it or how to access it now. It’s been a very weird couple of years. I have some work to do, and your post has motivated me to do it. Thanks!
Wow, Michelle. Let me know when you get it up and running, and I may have a new link for my blogroll. 🙂
Devon Ellington says
I look at my primary writing blog, Ink in My Coffee, as part of my job, not as something to keep up with “when I have time.” Face it, it takes 15 minutes to write a blog post — it’s part of the gig. It’s part of my workday. I’m getting better at updating the various websites, too — because I publish under multiple names, I sometimes feel I’m juggling fire sticks. But, when you actually figure out the time it takes ONCE YOU SIT DOWN AND DO IT, rather than puttering around it, it’s not much, you don’t lose billable time, and it’s worth it.
The last few months, my fiction’s brought in more than the client writing.
It takes me an hour to write a blog post, because I worry about the quality. I tend to write a lot, and then parse down to the essentials. Fortunately, I think part of the fix is writing less. Blog posts don’t need to be longer than 300 words.
How long it takes to write a blog post varies by the subject of the post, but yeah, it can take from 15 minutes to an hour to write one. 🙂
Am I ever guilty of this! I was just on a writer’s forum saying that I was now going to set aside time each week to work on my own projects or they will never get done. Right now I’m building a new website, and soon I will tackle the task of redirecting my blog from blogspot to a self-hosted wordpress site. On top of all that, I’m working on a few niche blogs and some other ideas to generate residual income.
When you’re having to market and juggle project deadlines it’s easy to let your own things slide.