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Having a writing plan is one of the best things you can do. You know what you’re working on, which clients need focus that day, and any type of appointments you have coming up.
I have a monthly plan for big projects that I’ll then split up by the week and then the day. This is what works for me.
However, my writing plan is never set in stone. I learned a long time ago that setting something in stone isn’t good for my stress levels or my work. You just have no idea what’s going to happen in the future.
2020 has taught a lot of us that. We have to roll with what life throws at us. It’s better than being in a state of panic all the time.
But it’s not just about a pandemic. There are so many other reasons to have a flexible writing plan. Here are five signs your plan needs to change.
You don’t have the time to catch up
You should need to catch up on work, right? If your plan is just right, you should be able to get through everything you’ve set.
Well, sometimes things don’t work out that way. And this is a major sign that you need to change your plan.
Stop trying to make something work that clearly doesn’t. You’ve got the same amount of hours in the day as the rest of us. If you can’t physically fit all your work into the day, then something needs to give. There’s no point stressing over it!
Make some changes so you work smarter, not harder.
Your financial needs have changed
When you set up your writing plan at the start of the month, you will have certain financial goals in mind. By the middle of the month, your financial goals may have completely changed.
You can’t just keep the original plan and add some extra work in there. Most of the time your whole plan will need to change.
I used to have to do this when I worked for Weight Watchers (now WW). I’d take on an extra couple of classes for the week, meaning that I couldn’t do the writing work planned in my diary. Now that I have just my writing business again, the problem doesn’t come up as much.
I do it now when I realize there’s something big on TV so my work needs to be focused on one site more than the others. Instead of trying to add in the extra work, I rework the plan.
A client wants emergency eork
You have a client who is in a panic. His other writer didn’t come through and now he has 10 blog posts that he needs written in 24-48 hours.
Providing that the price is right (or the topic is right in some cases) I’ll do the work. But the time that I would have spent doing blog posts of my own would need to be used for the client work. That means my blog post plans have to change slightly.
Or I’ll rearrange a plan with the other work that client has. His other work needs to be pushed to accommodate his emergency work, because why should other clients or my blogs suffer?
There are times that I’ll leave extra space in my diary. This is perfect if there’s breaking news from a TV show or network I need to cover or if a client has emergency work. That way, nothing else needs to change.
If nothing happens that day, the unclaimed hours are great for getting ahead the following day or I get a little extra time off. That’s my choice depending on my mood.
You’ve misjudged your writing speed
How much work did you think you would fit into your day? When you get to the stage I’m at now, you’ll know how long it takes to write an article. There are the odd one or two pieces that surprise you—I’ve had a couple recently that have taken much longer than usual.
However, if you’re a new writer, you may not know just how much time it takes to write a blog post. You end up misjudging with your diary, and have work that you just can’t complete.
Your whole diary from here on needs to change. The last thing you want is to get to the end of the month never completing a day!
Family emergencies have put you behind
Actually, it's not just about family emergencies, but emergencies or others' changing their plans overall.
Snow days, sick days, pandemics getting in the way! Every now and then, there's something to throw you for a loop. You don't get to say when emergencies happen. They just do.
So, instead of getting yourself into a panic, take a deep breath. Accept your writing plan needs to adapt to fit with this emergency.
Have you spotted the above give signs? Don’t be ashamed that it means a change to your writing plan. This is normal. Make your changes and learn from the mistakes you’ve made so you don’t overbook yourself again.