When the Assignments Dry Up

Three email messages! Maybe one is from an editor.

The first was a coupon for Botox.

The second, a reminder to buy discounted candles.

The third announced a department store’s Once a Year Sale for the third time.

Why don’t editors love me anymore? A few months earlier I had three writing jobs at once. Now the assignments had dried up, along with my freelancing hopes.

I had three options:

● Drown my sorrows with sour cream and onion potato chips.
● Alternate the chips with dark chocolate.
● Use my down time to work on my craft.

I chose all three.

Five things to do when there seems to be no work:

1. Jot down five ideas for articles or devotionals. They don’t have to be fully developed. Just brainstorm. You can toss the crazy ideas later.

2. Write five notes of encouragement. Address three to shut-ins. Send two to other discouraged writers. We don’t always have to be paid for what we write. We just have to be faithful. Use your craft to encourage.

3. Spend five minutes on your knees asking for wisdom and encouragement. James 1:5says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

4. Pick your best idea from number 1 and write five paragraphs. (Have an audience and a market in mind.)

5. Unsubscribe to five spam advertisers. Why waste your time when you could be writing or marketing?

Recently my freelance stream began to flow again, and I received an assignment. (You’re looking at it.) I think I’ll put away the chips.

A graduate of the Christian Writers Guild’s Journeyman course, Pauline Hylton lives in Clearwater, Florida. Her articles have appeared in USA Today magazine, Your Life Guide to Women’s Health, and Tallahassee Woman.

Photo credit: worradmu


  1. says

    I appreciate this article. I’ve been waiting for two responses from editors whose guidelines said they respond in six weeks time. I e-mailed one after nine weeks and haven’t heard. The other is closing in on ten weeks and I haven’t garnered the courage to contact them yet.

    I intend to take your advice and pray and keep studying the craft and keep submitting. Your timing for this encouraging article was great!

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