For the past several months I have been working on building an entrepreneurial resource guide. The guide will have over 400 listings of podcasts, articles, workshops, coaches, seminars, webinars, books and anything else related to arts entrepreneurship training my research finds. The goal is to make it an annual or bi-annual guide.
As part of the project, I brought in a couple of different writers as interns from local universities to work on writing up entries, learn how to assemble the “product”, create a marketing plan and ultimately to execute the plan and see it through to fruition.
The plan has been to agree on a certain number of completed entries weekly, take together a pre-recorded online marketing class, and to adhere to a schedule, making revisions as we needed along the way. Our meeting schedule to discuss what we are learning and issues with the project has been by conference call on Friday’s. Recently, however, it became completely apparent that one of the interns was simply unable to keep her obligations and adhere to a schedule.
Over her 10 weeks of participating, it began with my realization that I never could reach her on the phone or get a return call within even 48 hours during the week. After further exploration, it became clear she was not working during the day and simply did not understand it was a priority to be responsive. I asked her to correct this, explaining to her it was unprofessional because as a professional writer she needed to be easy to reach to work.
While her responsiveness somewhat improved for a few weeks, it was replaced with her missing our weekly meetings- the first time was because according to her text message a “spontaneous camping trip came up.” The next time it was because she overslept.
Needless to say, while being 20 something provides a lifestyle that differs from those of us that are 40 something, missing scheduled weekly meetings, failing to be available when you are called and not turning in your work on time is not the kind of consistency that allows for trust to be built or for a “team” to build together on the work they are doing. Sadly, I find this a common artistic problem.
Now I like this woman, and I do feel I failed her in some way because I was not able to compellingly convince her that her writing career depended on her becoming more responsible and consistent. I also understand, from having worked with a lot of artists like her, that when you have nothing, (including nothing more than a job waiting tables and no prospects of a job writing), it seems hard to believe that anything you do can really make a difference to advance your career- so why bother right?
Well, ironically, this week I received a call from someone who was looking for a freelance writer for a publishing company. This individual was a perfectly able candidate, in terms of her writing skills, but not at all in terms of her consistency- and so I could not recommend her.
You never know where things can lead in life. A little project writing a resource guide could have lead this young lady somewhere, but her lack of consistency and professionalism lead her to losing the internship instead of through the front door of the bank to deposit her first check from a freelance assignment as a professional writer….