Shovel-Ready Writing Projects: Getting a Leg Up in a Down Economy

As I looked over my writing projects wish list for 2009, I thought about the current catch-phrase, shovel-ready. It’s a term used to describe infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges that can be
started quickly to provide an immediate economic stimulus. I wondered whether I could apply this concept to writing projects.

Many of the projects on my list were ambitious—books and online courses that would require an intensive infusion of both time and money before they would generate income. With a recession of unknown duration looming, are quick-start—shovel-ready—writing projects a way to connect with existing clients and attract new ones?

Quick and Cheap
Blogs immediately come to mind when I think shovel-ready. They are quick and cheap to start. But is there room for yet another blog? In the crowded blogosphere, it might be difficult to attract enough subscribers to derive ad revenues from your blog. But think about your blog as a way to keep your name in front of your clients and potential new clients until the economy rebounds.

Short and Tweet
And what about the current darling of social media—Twitter? Do you have something to offer a group of followers? (Check out Mayra Ruiz-McPherson  and Debbie Weil  for consistently useful tweets.)

Shore Up and Spruce Up
Shoring up aging infrastructure is a natural category of shovel-ready writing. Websites are an obvious candidate. While a head-to-toe-redo is a major undertaking, fresh paint and window treatments are doable, perhaps adding new content to the home page or making sure project or product information is current. 

Old articles, white papers and research are all shovel-ready fodder for recycling and reuse. Do these oldies contain information that is evergreen and can be spruced up with current examples, case studies or data? Do these documents provide content and ideas that can be recycled for blog posts?

Just thinking about shovel-ready projects makes my shoulders ache! But I’m putting on my hard hat and work gloves and getting to work. As the year progresses, I’ll let you know about our shovel-ready writing projects and whether they hit pay dirt.

What about you? Do you have any suggestions or thoughts about shovel-ready writing projects?

— Marilynne Rudick (guest blogger)

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