See Part One and Part Two for earlier installments of this series. Today we’ll talk about a habit observed by almost none of the freelancers I’ve spoken with.
HABIT THREE: USING METRICS
We all have “goals” for our writing, whether it’s making $150k a year or getting that novel in the bureau drawer published. Thing is, most of us don’t make those desires real goals.
A real goal is measurable and has a time limit. Otherwise, it’s just a dream with little chance of success.
By measurable, I mean it’s tied to a number or other “victory condition” that makes it possible to know when you’re finished — and how close you are to completion.
A time limit is a date by which you’ve promised yourself you’ll reach the victory condition. You can divide long-term goals into benchmarks, keeping you on track for the final product.
Metrics are ways of measuring your progress to keep yourself on track for reaching your goals by the time you’ve set. I learned about metrics during my time running a martial arts studio. With over 100 students and a staff of more than 20 employees and volunteers, I had a lot of metrics to track. In my simpler life as a freelance writer, I track only a few:
- How much money I’ve earned by writing.
- How much money I’ve been paid for my writing (sadly, not always the same as number 1.
- How many posts for my blog I’ve put in the hopper.
- How many “action items” — for example, writing a scene or editing a chapter — I’ve completed on my book projects.
- How many pitches I’ve sent to potential new clients.
- How many “acts of marketing” I’ve performed.
- Whether or not I’ve completed my weekly administrative tasks.
Do you use metrics? If so, what metrics do you hold yourself to, and how do you track them? Leave some comments about your own process.
Thanks for listening.
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