When you first start out as a digital journalist, one of the things you most enjoy is being in full control of your hours and of your work. This seems especially good if you have come from a full time place of work, working for someone else. There are ups and downs or both but I would say that creating your own assignments is one of the things that has the most up and downs.
Firstly, it is a wonderful thing to create your own work. As a writer, you are probably a highly creative person and find it relatively easy to generate writing tasks for yourself. People often say that starting is the most difficult thing in life. Once you are on a roll, you keep going until you get to the end. This is certainly true in writing, which is why I have written in a previous post about the need to ”just write’. As long as you get something down on paper and churn the words out, you will be fine.
Creating your own assignments gives you a literary independence that gives you creative freedom. This kind of freedom is important as it runs to the crux of why you are doing what you are doing in the first place. You are in charge of your own work, what you do and what you say.
However, as time goes on, it can be surprisingly difficult to create your own assignments, day in, day out. Often, writers will have a freelancer plan, which can be added to over time. This plan will list out all of the possible work that you have for that coming week or month. It will be packed full of your ideas for what might be good to write. However, you will always have days when you are completely stuck and not sure what to do. Expect these days to come along and do not worry if and when they do.
When you come up with an assignment you should think about why you are writing it? Who is the audience? What is the structure? What happens? Who is involved? There are a load of questions that need answering. Often, if you are stuck for something to write, questions are a good way of starting out. Answering your questions will grow into a piece, which will grow into a title and then you have an assignment.