Did you set a goal to write a certain amount of articles each day or each week for AC or another site? Did you fall behind and now you’re stressing out? Fear not, it’s actually okay.
When I started writing for Associated content I didn’t set any goals. I just tried to write as much as I could as often as I could, and put them up when I had the time. Then I realized that working for AC could actually help me make more money to live on, and God knows I needed it. So, I set a goal to write at least 2 articles every day, no matter what. For a while, I had no problem keeping up with my goal, in fact, I was writing 4-6 articles a day on many days.
Then I got sick. Then I had all sorts of errands to run. Then I had computer issues. Then I got sick again. Then… you get the picture. In no time at all I’d fallen horribly behind. As of today I’m 115 articles behind. When I first realized that I was falling behind, I started to freak out. I can’t make money if I don’t write and submit articles, so I have to get to it! Of course, putting that kind of pressure on myself had me totally stressed out, and I couldn’t think of anything to write. The more I stressed the less cooperative my brain was, and the more I fell behind. You can see the downward spiral forming here.
The thing I realized is this: If you stress out over falling behind on your writing goal, it’s just going to put your brain in lock-up mode and you’re not going to get anything written, or if you do it’s going to be total garbage because you’re not thinking clearly and letting the writing flow. What you need to do is step back, relax, and get your mind back into the right place for working.
One of the best things you can do is to take a vacation day. Sit around and watch movies, play video games, listen to music, have some great food or do whatever it is that makes you really happy. Sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. What you’re doing by taking a day off is removing the stress and putting yourself back into a “happy place”, which will relax your mind and get you back to where you can do more writing. If you keep stressing you’ll stay stressed, and that backlog is just going to get bigger and bigger.
I know the number I stated earlier sounds high, but it was actually a lot higher until I took a day to stop freaking out about the backlog and just chill. I played some Plants Vs. Zombies on the Xbox, had hubby make some great food, and got some much-needed rest. After that, my brain kicked back into gear and I started pumping out articles like I’d never missed a beat. Now I’m well on my way to getting that backlog taken care of. If I keep up at my current rate, I can be back on track in less than a month. If I can stay happy, it’ll be less than that.
One of the other important things you need to remember if you want to avoid stress and a huge backlog is to not set your goal too high. I’ve seen some new writers set a goal of 6 or more articles a day! I read comments from one person who was trying to do 60 articles a week! That’s 8.5 articles a day, and that’s just too much if you’re going to produce quality content that’s over the minimum requirement. Set a low goal that you really feel you can keep, and do more only if you feel inspired.
When I was at that point of writing 4-6 articles a day I considered upping my goal to do that many every day. After giving it some serious thought, I realized that it would just stress me out to try to meet such a high goal all the time. A low goal is better, and I get a greater sense of accomplishment when I manage to go over that goal on any given day.
Overall, set goals you know you can meet, and if goals stress you, just do what you can when you can and call it good. If you find yourself falling behind on your goal, take a day off, relax, and get back to it when your mind is ready for it. And don’t forget, writer’s block can happen to the best of us, so if you hit a brick wall and can’t write, just relax and know that it will all come back to you in time.