Q1: What do You do Between Assignments?

By , September 6, 2009

This is my answer to the first of 12 questions I think are important for commercial writers to know. I think they’re especially important for people newly striking out on their own. The obvious answer to this question of activities between assignments is to look for more work. And that is true. However, I do some other things too that revitalize me, and get me ready for my next assignment.


There’s really a lot involved in the work search process. I have to decide who I’m going to query, what work sites to visit, and what type of work I want to do next. I review work sites bookmarked already and search for others I might like. Review my protocols. It’s important for me to keep my routines current. That way, when I’m working on an assignment, the routine stuff stays that way, routine, and doesn’t make me hesitate. Right now, I have a routine for searching out article topics and submitting that I’m working up.


Keeping up with writing trends is top of my list. I review my books on editing and writing, read related blogs and websites. New things I’m learning get more time when I’m between assignments. Website coding, graphics, JavaScript are just a few that are on the front burner these days. I do them to learn about them.


Between assignments, I increase my work on personal projects, like the book(s) in my head, my blogs, poetry, even emails. I tend to write longer messages when I have time. Sometimes, I write letters to people that I don’t send. It’s a practice that I read about in one of my writing books and I do it for fun. Finally, I write articles for practice. Sometimes I focus on speed, sometimes on the research. You can see the usefulness of this practice, right? There are other things I do for me, when I’m not on assignment. One is reading for fun. I include in this, any reading that is not assigned or directly related to work. It doesn’t matter the genre. Also on this list are increased meditation, photography, drawing and social media activities .

Why So Much  Structure Between Assignments?

It’s a matter of having as much planned as I can. That way, it’s easier to roll with what comes up unexpectedly. In the unexpected group are the activities that come up with family and friends. Yes, I do make time for those events, too. Oh, and my favorite activity of all—doing nothing at all. I try to plan all my off–duty activities efficiently, so that I can maximize my free time. Sometimes it’s really nice to just sit and be, without any agenda. And between assignments, I have more times when I can do that when I plan my free time. I’d like to know what you do between assignments? Do you keep structure or completely let go?

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