I love to spend time using my creativity to write original material, yet of course there are times when being creative has to take second place to paying projects that are sitting on the desk awaiting completion. One a few weeks age week required much research and a lot of reading time (for which I was not paid) and meant that I would be unable to let my creative juices flow (or so I thought). In retrospect I was wrong, projects do provide creative opportunities here’s how.
Having lived with deadlines for the majority of my life I know that getting the problem resolved on time is vital, yet I have always preferred the deadlines that I have set rather than those set by others, yet both are clearly important because without meeting the deadline you do not get paid, something everyone should consider. Indeed Lisa Edwards suggests it is important for a writer to set themselves deadlines even if they have not been given any by the client.
The worst thing about deadlines is always when problems occur that are outside of your control – on this occasion my challenge was an optical mouse that stopped working mid way through, well all I can say is that thank goodness laptops have mouse-pads built into them (they may be tougher to use but at least they work and can be relied upon to continue doing so). Of course it is not just technology that wishes to ignore your deadlines it is other people.
The problem of other people is that they do not share your priorities, what is urgent for you is not for them and all the persuading in the world does not help. I long ago learnt that when something you are working on requires other people’s input, ask them for it and set them a “strict” deadline before you commence your own work.
Business is, of course, all about deadlines, to ignore them means that you are going to be poor for a long, long time because no-one will want to work with you. I have always thought it best to beat deadline dates and do so by as many days as possible, the importance of this is generally shown by the fact that you get repeat work when you deliver to schedule, which must be important for anyone working on commissions.
Creativeness has many possibilities, and it is in my view when finalising your work that you have an opportunity to apply all the “spit and polish” necessary to make your work really shine out. Many people reason that they have edited their piece quite a few times already and that last inspection is not necessary, yet in my experience that last inspection reveals both opportunities to make the work shine but also reveals a few little fixes that need to be made, like the ‘not’ that should be a ‘nor’ or vice versa.
When you are writing for anything that is Internet based this is the time you also need to think specifically about the impact of SEO and how to make you work more visible, find opportunities to link to other relevant material, including other pages on the client’s site. Making changes to fit limited space requirement will certainly draw on all your skills, if the client wants it written in 500 words it is better you craft it to fit instead of leaving it to an editor who doesn’t share your vision of the work.
Arguably there is more pure enjoyment from something you are free to craft from scratch using your own ideas and creativity at a time when you are not limited by the needs of a client, however just because someone else provides the work does not mean that you cannot be just as imaginative, creative, or expressive albeit fitting within their specific guidelines. It is your professional duty to step up and provide your best work at all times.
The report I just created had to analyse the findings of several other people’s work and identify the lessons that needed to be learned on behalf of my clients. I spent some time simply analysing these other reports, highlighting issues, and throwing research material into Evernote in order to put together my rough notes, having done this it was clear there were some recurring themes and by re-organizing my notes the focus of my analysis started to become clear – a clarity I wished was present when I first started researching this topic.
I guess that is the point – the possibility of being creative even using other people’s thoughts, so there is a marrying together of creativeness and professionalism. Now it is complete and has been sent away, there is time to be creative on my own behalf (and replace that faulty pointing device).
Buy Peter B. Giblett a coffee as a thank you for this article.
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