A great post on The Urban Muse this week got me thinking: Is there such a thing as the “right” mix of marketing and creating?
Ideally, freelancers spend at least a few hours a week marketing their work — i.e., searching for and contacting new clients along with Tweeting, Facebooking and otherwise promoting their writing. Normally, I enjoy this mix. I almost consider it a break to switch from the intensity of creating new stories to sniffing out opportunities to sell more.
But this week — one in which I found myself rolling from corporate writing to journalism to public relations and back again — I barely indulged in social media and entirely ignored the idea of marketing to new clients. In fact, every time I accidentally flipped from my to-do list to the page behind it — a running list of editors to contact — my stomach lurched.
Why? My reasons were both patently absurd and completely logical. I was overwhelmed as it was, working early mornings and late nights, and worried another editor would say yes. How ridiculous is that? I was afraid of more success.
But one of my hard-and-fast policies — never accepting work I know I can’t finish on time — was firmly at play. There was simply no more time in which to squeeze a last-minute assignment, and most of my stories have a one- to three-day window between assignment and deadline. In the interest of creating well, my marketing had to go on a short hiatus.
I suspect this mix is a tenuous one for a great many freelancers, and something that needs to stay fluid. As my business changes, shifts and grows, I need to be open to the idea that some weeks may include almost no marketing, and that is just as OK as weeks in which I exhaust my list of new prospects. The goals are the same, after all — to maximize my output, my potential for growth and my ability to do my best writing for each client.
So maybe there’s no “right” mix of marketing and creating at all — maybe it’s a recipe that, depending on the portions, tastes a little different every day. It’s one of the reasons freelancing rarely grows bland or stale. A tasty career choice indeed.