Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Serenity Tool: Challenge Yourself, Part 2

One of my favorite and primary roles when I work with coaching clients is to help them refine, target and send queries. I love playing the role of cheerleader and editor. And when I need someone to play that role for me, I turn to my fellow freelancers. This week, I'll talk a little about working with others to make your querying goals come to life.

Monday, I shared a query challenge approach that requires lots of other freelancers to make it work. But what if you've only got yourself and a few others? Let me tell you about another challenge.

The Query-a-Day Approach

In the freelance writers group I belong to, I might be the most maniacal querier of the bunch, but I'm not immune to the need for support. When I found my querying slipping a few months ago, I emailed my freelancers group and asked if I could join them. They'd been doing a query-a-day challenge for a month already.

Here's how it's set up:
  • Gather at least four freelancers, available via email.
  • Pair yourselves off.
  • Promise to report in daily on your progress.
  • At the end of the week, one of you tallies the score and sends it off to a group email, in this case a Yahoo! Group.
It's pretty simple. Every day, my query buddy and I emailed one another our progress. It was just a moment to check in. Sure, you could say it kept us accountable. But I prefer to think that it gave us an opportunity to check in with ourselves on our intentions, our resistance, and our successes. We cheered each other on, we kept each other honest, and we got to know each other better.

The Rub

Now, there were no points required in this challenge--no tallying three points for this, one for that, etc. Our goal was simply to send one query every work day--defined as Monday through Friday for the workaholics among us. But what was motivating us? Wouldn't it be easy to fall off. There were no stakes, after all.Well, after I joined, I discovered that there were stakes: One of the writers had promised, if she failed to send the number of queries she intended, to donate money to the political campaign of someone she hates. Now that's motivation.

A Little Story

It was during this challenge that I resurrected a query I've been sending for two and a half years. It's a great story. I love it. But it's very specific, very niche and I'm determined that it deserves a wide audience. So I got an email from a fellow freelancer alerting me to change in leadership at a publication, and I sent the query off again.

I'm now in talks with the editor about possibly writing the piece for him.

It's not to say I wouldn't have sent the query to the editor anyway. But the support always helps. It's always welcome and it's always encouraging when you have an agreement with someone that they will cheer you on if you email them. That can never be a bad thing.

Friday, one more post on query support.

Photo by
Heart of Oak.

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