Monday, December 14, 2009

Beginning the spring campaign

It is that time of year again, that moment when we are all deciding what we are going to accomplish in the upcoming year. For me, it is the start of my spring writing campaign.

I started doing an annual writing campaign almost two decades ago. The restaurant I was working at, not being close to a mall, would suffer a drop in sales around the holidays. There was also the advent of the secular new year to remind oneself that one was wasting one's time flipping burgers.

So I started to jot down ideas, volunteer to take off early, and doing more writing in a month than I did the entire became an annual event for me. Especially after I started to make a little money writing. Every year was "This is the year, I am going to make the big break and get the hades out of here."

After I realized that it was unlikely to happen, switched jobs, and decided that I still liked writing better than my day job (ended up being a restaurant manager), I still indulged in the new year writing campaign.

There have been some changes in the way I conduct it over the years. As I have made more money over the years, it has surfaced in my mind earlier.

For awhile, it started as soon as I hit my net plus thirty cutoff point: that point in the business year where you know that nothing that you are working on now will earn you a dime until after the New Year. One of the hazards of being self-employed is that the earliest you might recieve money for the work you do today is thirty days after the end of the current calendar month.

In recent years, my campaign has rotated around my college and university schedules. I cannot start the campaign until I have died on the sofa for a couple of days after I take my last final exam and turned in the last paper for the semester. If I am unable to type a single sentence without making a spelling mistake, it is probably too soon to start the campaign.

My work at Campus Connection (the student newspaper for the Community College of Denver) have also affected my campaign. Some of the work that I am going to be doing this month is meant for them...all writers change their agendas based on who they can get to pay them. I also will spend time this month uploading articles that I have done in the past semester to one of the pageview sites.

(I will admit that I thought that I had all my astrology articles up from last year, leaving just three articles from last year left---articles that I am not sure I want anyone to see ever again; but I was wrong. I found a lonely sun sign astrology article about evil twins and our negative astrological traits lurking on the hard drive of my computer, and I had to upload it to AC today. Tomorrow, I will probably start uploading this past semester's articles; it will be interesting to see the stats for the new format compared to the old format of the previous year's.)

But I think that the most important changes to my new year campaign is that I have several mini-campaigns, and I am no longer focused on the big breakout.

The mini-campaigns are the results of doing both online content and the college newspaper work, as well as suffering the university schedule. I find it easier to look ahead and plan articles that will be interesting in the months, and sometimes years ahead.

Another reason for the mini-campaigns is that I am no longer trying to create a big break for myself. My most reliable income sources are small monthly jobs. A little income from this source and a little from that source adds up. I am a far ways from making a comfortable income, but I know I can get there, given enough time and content.

Earlier this year, my sister (who is one of my toxic writing friends) told me that I will never be a "great writer"; it did not bug me all that much to be told that---I have ceased to aim for that several years ago, and I am working hard to be a regularly employed hack instead. (What disturbed me was that she considered my entire life a waste, not just my writing.)

So I am not planning on writing a great short story over the next month; instead I am focusing on articles that will generate income---short, sweet articles. Here is to my spring campaign (it is when I will start recieving payment for this month's work), and here is to yours. Tally-Ho!

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