What I’m listening to: How Long by Charlie Puth
Note to all who are wondering why the blog feed says “Writer Wednesday.” I screwed up. It’s Tuesday. End of story. 🙂
I’ve been known to be a tad spontaneous.
Okay, more than a tad. More like a tad plus a truckload.
In the past, I’ve done nutso shit like:
- Deciding to send out new brochures, then writing them up and printing them same day (yep, one typo was missed)
- Deciding to focus on a new area of concentration, then sending out dozens of LOIs and magazine queries the same day
- Deciding that big prospect was mine for the asking, then asking (without much research behind it)
- Deciding I needed another blog I didn’t have energy or time to post to (still struggling with this brilliant decision)
In every case, I not only didn’t get the clients, I lost interest quickly.
This is what happens when you try to do too much without putting some serious planning into it.This is what happens when freelance writers let their ADHD run the show. Click To Tweet
Maybe you’ve been here, too. Maybe you’ve driven down the same side of Crazy-making Street I have.
So how do you stop those barreling trains of Brainstorm and Creative Energy from colliding?
By channeling the energy in more constructive ways, my friend. I know. I’ve had to do it.
Confession time: the first conference I went to post-employee status, I wasn’t prepared at all. I figured I’d show up, cheap business cards in hand, and make a killing.
Despite the potential to make a horrible impression, I did manage to land a few gigs, but they were less than ideal. I was too eager to accept any gig, which meant I ended up with one-off projects, difficult people, and a serious case of wheel spinning. I got one or two good gigs out of it, but the bad far outweighed the good.
It wasn’t a total loss — I did make connections that I still have. I made a few connections that I realize now weren’t going anywhere, but I learned.
I learned to have a plan first.
But Lori! I have a million ideas at once! Every single one of them is golden!
I know. They may well be. But do you have time to fully launch every last one of them? No?
Then don’t. For your own sake, don’t.
I hear you asking: What about all these great ideas?
I suggest you apply a simple test — a sniff test if you will — to each idea.
- Is this a timely idea, or is it evergreen?
- How much effort will this idea take?
- Do I have the time needed to bring this to fruition? The resources? The skill?
- How committed to the idea am I? Is the plan strong enough to sustain that commitment?
- Seriously, am I really going to do this for the long term, or am I more interested in “trying it out” first?
Now that you have your answer for each idea, let’s whittle that list down. Let’s create a shorter list of ideas that you’ll later brainstorm and put some action plan to.
Timely or evergreen? Maybe you need to act on this ASAP. If so, you may want to put this item as a priority. If you’re sitting on an idea such as writing white papers that specifically address a current event, that’s something to move on right away. If it’s more like a topic that’s been around forever, think about if this is something that can wait until you have time to really research it.
Effort. I too want to have a monthly newsletter for each of my blogs. But I truly don’t have the time for it. I don’t have time for the one that occasionally goes out for this blog. I know my limits, so I don’t plan it. What wish-list item do you want to accomplish, but can’t find time for? Put it lower on your priorities list, or your “do it later” list.
Commitment. I have to say that commitment alone isn’t a good measure. I was committed to every idea I eventually bailed on. Commitment needs to be coupled with a solid plan. If you have a great idea you’re committed to, try putting together a plan. Suppose you want to write ebooks on dog grooming. Your plan would include: identifying potential buyers, knowing how to market, deciding on what marketing push you’ll do, choosing social media platforms, and actually carving out the time to write them. Also, don’t forget to investigate how much your efforts will pay off. Is the market big enough? Are you able to charge enough to make it worth your effort?
Long-term reality check. Ask yourself the tough question: Am I going to be this excited about this idea in 9 months when the workload is still intense and the payoff has yet to come? Do I love it enough to make it my primary focus for the next year? Am I loving it because it’s something I really want to be doing, or because I want to be doing something different?
Writers, how have you struck a balance between expanding your business and not going batshit crazy with it?