You need to seize opportunities.

Today’s post is about a lesson I unfortunately learnt the hard way.

We all know that writers (and a bucket load of other professions) work to deadlines.

But sometimes, it’s not just about the deadline. Often it’s about getting your work in first, quickly or while an opportunity exists.

It’s all about timing.

Here are some tips on being the early bird and getting your work and ideas out into the world.

Jump at good opportunities – Fast

When you see a good opportunity go for it.  Don’t hesitate. I can’t state how important this is. It isn’t just about taking up opportunities, but how fast you act on them.

When I first started writing and was unsure of myself, I would see a good opportunity and procrastinate over it.  Consequently, other writers didn’t procrastinate and they got the writing jobs.

I would finally send in my application, but it would be too late.  The company already had enough writers to fill their quota.

Notice I used the word good in regard to describing the opportunity.  I’m not saying you should apply for every opportunity. Let’s face it, some of them will be crap.  Not to mention you don’t have the time to apply for everything that comes along.

The key and therein the hard part is applying for the right opportunities for you.

Run with your good idea

I can’t tell you how many times I have picked up a magazine or newspaper and read a story I was planning.

This has happened to me a lot with travel articles. While I was deciding on whether it was a good story idea, where I should pitch it and what my hook should be, someone beat me to the punch.

If you have a good idea, run with it. Because if you don’t – someone else will.

Don’t hang onto work to send out

I did this back when I was freelancing. I was working on a ‘pack’ of articles to send to a website that I was writing for. I have no idea why I didn’t send them as soon as each article was ready.

I should have.

On the day I was ready to push the send button, I got an email saying the website was being sold and not to send any more work. That bad decision cost me cash. Send work out the minute it is ready.

Be prepared for change

As a writer, particularly if you are planning on writing for the web you need to realize markets change all the time.  Websites will pay one month and decide next month they are no longer paying their writers. Sites get sold and change format all of the time. You need to be able to adapt to a constantly changing market. 

When I left my office job recently, I had two paid markets lined up. They didn’t pay a lot but they were enough to pay my blogging expenses. Within a short time frame, both of those markets had dried up and no longer existed.

Another reason you need to seize an opportunity quickly – you never know how long that opportunity will be available.

While this post is aimed at writers, it doesn’t just apply to them.

Think how many times you could have seized an opportunity in your career (or personal life for that matter), but you held back and someone else grabbed the opportunity. Putting off sending out a job application definitely springs to mind.

You procrastinate – you miss out. It happens all the time. Don’t let it happen to you.

Grab good opportunities with both hands and act on them quickly.

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