Self evaluation is key for success.
Some of the best freelancers and entrepreneurs that I know and/or follow online are constantly evaluating themselves, their work and their productivity. They take criticism and work on realistically improving on what they do and maintaining that in a sustainable way.
I’ve learned a lot from seeing them improve and how they critique themselves. Tracking success and online growth is a big part of making sure that things work out (as in making a living wage). It’s a list of things that we know we should do, but don’t always.
2018 probably would have been a lot easier (and better) if I had checked all my boxes for my assignments more than I have. Some of my pitfalls have been a lack of representation and mentorship in a seemingly homogenous media landscape, and sometimes it’s just me. Sometimes I’m my worst enemy. My own carelessness and sloppiness and lack of self care can easily throw off a lot of my efforts. I’ve pitched ideas that were interesting, only to have them killed
Therefore I’ve had to really start looking at what I can do better and what other young professionals (or new writers) can do better.
1.) Triple Check Your Damn Work:
It’s always great to double check your work. But let’s be real, sometimes we’re so deep into an assignment or project that you’re not going to see all of little fine errors. It happens all the times, especially if everything had to be full steam ahead to meet a strange deadline or if there are a lot of moving pieces to the assignment.
Do not hit send until you catch as many errors as you can. Make a list if you have to of things that tend to slip your grasp.
2.) Get Feedback & Ideas From Other Professionals:
When I first started writing, I did it in my room. And I hardly left my room because I wanted to become a better writer. But life exists outside of our bedrooms and offices and it can enrich the work we do alone. But we can’t just be alone forever typing away in or caves like literate troglodytes.
Feedback and advice is necessary. I made a point of meeting up with writers this year and hearing their advice. It has made a huge difference and I’ve learned a lot about how other professionals approach their craft and constantly improve. If I hadn’t gotten their input, I wouldn’t have gotten some of the bylines that I did this year.
3.) Take a Damn Breather Every Once in a While:
Don’t just work all day, you’ll burn out. I learned that the hard way. I thought that becoming a good writer meant slaving away at my laptop for 12 to 14 hours a day. I’d chastise myself for needing breaks and for wanting to go hang out with friends instead of working through my free time.
I feel a lot better about my work whenever I get to leave it for a few hours, and I’ve made a lot more progress after investing time in things that are meaningful to me like working out or visiting family and friends.
4.) Find New Ways to Have Fun With Your Job/Business:
I’ve taken on assignments that I hate in the past just because I needed the money. I still have to do that sometimes because bills need to be paid, but for every assignment that I’m not crazy about, I try to find one that I’m really interested in. That’s not always easy, especially when I need to get any amount of money that I can, but thanks to platforms like Medium, it’s becoming easier for me to find outlets for writing ideas that I really care about.
So work on finding things that you care more about. It’ll also help stave off the burnout that sometimes comes with freelancing.
5.) Get Physical:
If the words on the page all start running together after a few hours, get up and go for a walk. If you’re on a tight deadline, go for a quick jog around the block or just dance around in another room. Get your blood pumping a little bit and then get back to writing/working.
Staying glued to your seat isn’t going to do you or your work any favors. So find little ways of moving around to make the most of your “down time” when working on a long assignment.