The Struggling Writer

The chronicles of a freelance writer as he tries to make a living.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More musings on goals

I set my monthly goals by submissions rather than payment. As a freelancer, I can't depend on regular payments. All I can do is put out increasing effort each month until I am earning a level I am comfortable with.

Last month it occurred to me that there is a problem with this system. I near the end of the month, realize I'm nowhere near my goal, and have to scramble to get a couple of submissions in. I added a daily tracker that gives me an increasing target over the month. For example, on May 17 I should have met 17/31 of my goal for May. My monthly goal is to at least match my previous best month.

This month two new problems came up. One is that if I keep just meeting my best month, I never grow. My long term target is to be self-sufficient by August 2008, which will be my 2-year anniversary. I need to make 4x what I'm making now to meet that. If I set my monthly target to 10% over my previous best month, then I should just about meet my self-sufficiency goal. Yes, I realize that the flaw with that is that I'm equating submission with income. I will continue to tweak the system over the coming months.

The other problem is - how do I count project bids? I've bid on several projects this month so I'm out there trying to drum up business, but how do I count that, particularly when I'm bidding on a project of unknown size, and simply quoting an amount per piece, per word, or per hour?

For May, I'm just a hair behind the 10% goal for the entire month. I won't be able to write tomorrow, so I should try and find something to pop out today. Again, that ignores my project bids so if I include those I'm well past my goal. Still, that doesn't make it OK to slack off today.

That's one of the problems with these kinds of goals. If you hit your goal for the month on the 20th, does that make it OK to take the rest of the month off? Heck no, but it's tempting.


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