By- Tom Kubrak
About a year ago, I remember getting on the phone with one of my good artist friends. We have these talks once or twice a month. He does a different kind of work than me, but we both freelance so we can speak on the same level; in that he understands the creative process and the ups and downs.
Anyways, as we talked I remember finally telling him… “Dude I’m overwhelmed right now and I just can’t think straight.”
I was on the verge of another burn-out. I could feel it. And as I sat there on the phone telling him these things, he just let me talk. That phone call and him allowing me to talk probably saved me from, what I believe, would have been a dark-spot in my writing career. Thank God too, because I would have lost a ton of progress I had made in my young writing career.
Here’s what I was thinking about for awhile, but finally was able to outline over this phone call with my friend:
Three of Each
Let me explain: Freelance writing has many different “avenues’ in it. Story articles, Profiles, transcribing, newsletter, copy, plays, screenplays, books, ghostwriting, and the list goes on. With all of that, it can be easy to take on multiple projects in each of those categories. It’s different with every writer in what they can handle.
But, what I do is three of each in the categories I specialize in. Start at number one and then move to the next. Now, I have a “Get it done and then move on” type of mentality. The problem was, before, people were calling me and I was calling them before I finished the story I was working on! The work piled up quickly.
When I implemented this strategy though it almost instantaneously grounded me and got me on track. As before I was so overwhelmed every day I had no idea even what to work on. Thus, causing me to have a few days where I didn’t write at all. I felt like I was sinking ten feet below the surface.
The 5 Main Categories
I have five categories that I use to separate my writing projects. In no particular order it goes
Stories, Articles, etc. (This is everything else including copy and editing projects)
At no time though do I write in each of those categories more than 3 projects at a time. I only start another one when I finish one of those three.
That’s how I almost had another breakdown. I had 5-10 things in each of those categories and I was slowly falling behind.
The thing about this too, any Co-writing projects, where I’m helping other people write their stories, also counts in whatever category it belongs in.
I’ve highlighted in the photo where this post allies in the charts I have, that I’ve actually borrowed and changed a bit from a business strategy called the Kan-Ban system from the book “The Lean Startup” by Eric Reis.
The priority when looking at this chart though is: What do you have to do first?
This strategy works for me because it allows me to work on multiple projects at once without getting off track. Seeing this chart lets me know and start thinning about the next project too that is in the number 2 and number 3 positions.
Completing a project
When you complete a project(preferably #1 but occasionally number 2 and 3 get knocked out first) you simply erase and move the projects up to one and two. Then, hopefully you add one to the bottom of the list at #3…
Thus, repeating the cycle.
“Balance isn’t something you achieve “Someday.” – Nick Vujicic
By- Tom Kubrak
IG & TWTR @tomkubrak