The other day, L heard me practicing the piano and came in to make a suggestion.
“I hope you don’t mind,” he said.
“Of course not,” I said. “This is a results-oriented work environment.”
Editor’s note: YES I KNOW WHAT A ROWE IS, and yes I used “results-oriented” instead of “results-only” because I think it’s a better way of describing reality. Results-only is impossible, or at least improbable, but results-oriented is continually possible.
If I’m going to tell the story as it actually happened, I need to mention that he and I spent the next five minutes convivially debating whether his method or my method was more likely to yield the results I was going for — and then came to the agreement that both techniques were useful for certain phases of the learning process, but his was more useful for the learning phase I was currently in.
Because I tried his method (with him watching) and then mine, and then his, and then mine, and the passage improved more quickly with his method.
The next day I was playing a different section of the piece that was at a different stage of the process, and I said “I think my method is better for what I’m trying to achieve here,” and he said “I think you’re right.”
Because — and again, this is the important part — I was generating efficient, predictable results.
It astounds me, sometimes, that people don’t base their entire lives on whether they’re getting the results they want from the actions they’re taking — but it is extremely hard to practice the kind of consistent mindfulness required to 1) pay attention to everything you’re doing, 2) observe the results that follow, 3) evaluate whether those are the results you want, 4) adjust accordingly, and 5) continue to make adjustments towards greater efficiency.
(I recently broke myself of the habit of checking the door locks and the stove and the gas fireplace like, five times before I went to bed every night, and I did it by running the process I just outlined above. Checking five times because I couldn’t remember whether I’d checked well enough the first time was getting me the result I wanted, but it was extremely inefficient. Checking once, and paying attention as I checked, got me the same result with many fewer steps.)
All of this is to say that I am going to be teaching an hour-long online class on PITCHING FREELANCE ARTICLES this weekend, and there is STILL TIME TO SIGN UP, and it will be entirely results-oriented.
Which is to say that YOU WILL WRITE A PITCH DURING THIS CLASS.
And then YOU MIGHT DECIDE TO SEND THAT PITCH TO AN EDITOR.
And then YOU MIGHT GET HIRED TO WRITE A FREELANCE ARTICLE.
And — whether your pitch gets accepted or rejected — my class will provide you with tools to ADJUST YOUR NEXT PITCH TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF ACCEPTANCE.
Iterate, iterate, iterate, pitch pitch pitch, get accepted get accepted get accepted, earn $$$ $$$ $$$.
Freelancing, like piano and chess (and remind me to tell you more about my chess study next week), is a 100% results-based game.
Which means that all you have to do is pay attention to what you’re doing, pay attention to the results you’re getting, and adjust accordingly.
(And don’t take it personally when the great love of your life interrupts your piano practice to offer a specific technique that does in fact help you improve.)
Where I got published this week
Let’s take a close look at the different types of cash back cards, how to use your cash back rewards and what you need to know before choosing a cash back credit card.
You might be able to get your credit card application canceled—but only if you’re able to contact your credit issuer before they make their application decision.
Lenders occasionally need extra time to evaluate credit applications, but how long will you have to wait until they make their decision?
Credit Cards Dot Com
Are you ready to take on a student credit card? Here's what you need to know.
Don’t Write Alone | Catapult
We post submission roundups once a week. Here’s our list of literary magazines and freelance opportunities for December 10, 2021.
We post roundups of writing and literary jobs once a week. Here’s our list for December 10, 2021.