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The Triathlon of Freelance Writing

Author: ; Published: Aug 28, 2013; Category: Uncategorized; Tags: None; 3 Comments

My husband does triathlons for fun – small, medium and the biggest of them all, the Ironman. It takes months of training and lots of planning and organization for race day.

"Where do I stash my energy gels on the run? Do I need a clean pair of socks before the run? And I can’t forget my nipple Band-Aids!"

I, on the other hand, do not race triathlons. But sometimes, a day of freelancing feels like a triathlon.

Take last week for instance. In a single morning, I had three different phone interviews to conduct – back to back with no breaks in between. Worse, they were each for different clients with totally different products/services:

8:00 Talking to a water meter equipment company about its help desk software

8:30 Interviewing a consultant about a police department’s e-citation system

9:00 Talking to a school bus contractor about its cloud-hosted IT environment

I’d call that a triathlon of freelancing. I had to fly from one interview to the next and hit the ground running on each call.

There’s only one way I got through. If you’ve read some of my other posts, you know I’m all about preparation – really good preparation.

I’ve been writing for each of these clients for a while, but without prep, I wouldn’t be able to flip the switch between each call just as triathletes move gracefully between swimming, biking and running.

How do I prep? Here’s how I got through my morning…

  • The afternoon before, I spent at least a couple of hours prepping for the next day.
  • I reviewed my existing notes for each project.
  • I reviewed the subject matter and key messaging for each client.
  • I typed up detailed interview questions for each call.
  • I made sure that the call # for each call was at the top of each list of questions so I could go from one call to the next quickly.

It was still mentally tough to switch among the diverse subject matter, but my interview questions kept me focused.

My "triathlon" of a morning wasn’t typical, but it’s happened before. The next time you’re faced with multiple calls in a day on different topics, block out time ahead to prepare – and be grateful that at least you don’t have to worry about nipple Band-Aids.