Sunday, August 07, 2022

How To Fill Your Empty Calendar

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Like most freelance writers, I have an empty calendar for many days. How do I fill that schedule with productive activity that moves me forward toward my goals? In this article and no matter what you write, I want to give you some ideas about how to fill those blank and empty periods.
1. Determine what you want to write or achieve. Do you want to publish in magazines? Do you want to do more speaking? Do you want to write books for others? Do you want to learn about how to write screenplays or do effective Facebook ads? There are many opportunities and you have to determine which one is where you want to go. If you are looking for a list of writing possibilities, then download the first chapter of my book, Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. Use this download link (no optin). 
2. Focus your planning and energy toward consistent effort to this goal. To achieve it, what do you need to learn? Who do you need to connect with? How can you build those relationships? It will not be overnight but you have to consistently make the effort to achieve this goal.
3. As you get responses, fill your calendar with scheduled phone calls or meetings to build your relationships. As I've mentioned in the past on these articles, who you know is just as important as what you know. Your connections can be invaluable in reaching your publishing goals.
I don't expect this process to be easy or simple and know will involve hard work and continued effort. Here's what I have learned from decades in this business, if you do the work, you will eventually achieve the results. I recently listened to Darren Hardy's The Compound Effect about where you can achieve big results from making incremental changes. There is a payoff for making these changes with consistency.
As I put together my calendar, balance is a key component. I'm not perfect at it but overall there is a mixture between current work, optional work, planning ahead for future work and consistent learning and growth.
For this process, I don't use a paper calendar. Instead I keep dates and appointments on my electronic calendar. I made this switch several years ago and it has been a good one because in general I have my phone with me and can keep up with my variety of deadlines.
My Personal Philosophy
For a number of years, I've been an early riser with no alarm clock. Yes, if I have to get up at 3 am (which happens sometimes to catch an early flight), I use my alarm but otherwise I don't. For me every day is a gift and we are charged to use that gift wisely—whether it be a regular work day or a holiday or the weekends. I have many different activities which fill my day. Some of them are on my calendar as appointments but others are just work activities that I want to get finished. Some of those activities relate to current work while others relate to future work. Some activities are something new that I'm learning. Others are consistent ways I spread the news to others about my work and effort such as marketing efforts. I'm often in a routine which I've created but I consciously work at changing up that routine so it is different and not boring. I believe each of us have a lot to accomplish in a given day—if we celebrate and seize the opportunity.
How do you fill your empty calendar? What steps or ideas can you add to what I've said? Let me know in the comments below.

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