One approach is to use criteria. Creating your own scoring system is best, but here are a few to consider:
· High concept – Whatever you write will need to catch the attention of editors, marketers and readers. So if you have a project that stands out as different and generates excitement in just a few words, you might push it to the top of your list.
· Expertise – A project in a sweet spot where you have a good reputation, either from past sales or from education and experience, is likely to draw time, money and attention. And if you have a platform, such as a blog or newspaper column with many readers, even better.
· Passion – If you get excited, engaged and interested, chances are that the words will tumble out and your enthusiasm will infect your readers. Why bother if you don’t care?
· You’re on deadline – This may be the only thing that trumps passion. Your reputation and your career may be bigger than a single project. So meet your commitments.
If you are as nerdy as I am, you may create spreadsheets and scorecards and subsets of the above and complicated mechanisms for assigning and adding up points. As long as this 1) locks in your commitment to a project to work on, and 2) does not get in the way of the actual writing, go for it. But do your scoring the day before you settle into the project. Don’t start the day figuring out what to write.