Thursday, August 11, 2016
When Less Really IS More
We all know some glaringly obvious places where less is more.
Makeup... (although depends on who you talk to...)
But what about our writing life?
I've been contemplating the concept lately, because it feels like I'm always feeling the pull to DO more and BE more, but as I strive to do so, it doesn't feel like I have more of anything except items on my to-do list.
We need a BIGGER platform, MORE books MORE frequently. We're told to post more, blog more, write more, network more, market more. We're given so many different social media sites to keep up with to help do all that--but it just burns us out and in the end, can be counter productive.
I've long been a avid fan of the concept of WORKING SMART.
Have you ever had a job where there is that one employee who works ALL the time? They come in early, leave late. They are constantly stressed. Everyone thinks, WOW, what a good worker are THEY. But then they leave the company due to burnout... and their replacement is hired... and comes in on time. Leaves on time. Actually takes a lunch break instead of working through it. They must be huge slackers, right? But their work is still getting done, with more accuracy than it was ever being done before.
They've embraced the concept of working smarter.
I think writers can do the same thing. It's still gonna be hard work. I'm not preaching laziness here, but more of a balanced work-life. If we take the time to step back and see what VALUE each of the things we are doing adds, if we put a little time into strategizing instead of just throwing as many darts as possible and hoping one sticks and sells books, we'll have a lot more confidence and a lot more time than we thought possible.
And as Christian authors, I want to add that this doesn't discount the leading and direction of God. God's plans trump ours EVERY day of the week. I do think God wants us to be wise stewards of the time he's given us though.
I started this post with the intent of giving you specific ways you can work smarter instead of harder.
The concept looks different for each of us. What is smarter for ME might not work at all for you.
The Writer's Alley chose to cut down our blogging days from 5 to 3 this month, because we felt that we would add more value if we posted less and focused more on quality verses quantity. But that might not be what YOU need to do. Maybe working smarter for your blog is planning your posts better, or cutting down to one day a week, or creating a more uniform format, or even cutting out blogging all together.
Facebook and social media is another area where we all really need to figure out how to manage better. For some people, scheduling posts to automatically post works, but that rarely if ever is a good idea for me because it doesn't fit into my "brand" if you will. I WILL say that Facebook is one place that I think we tend to over post sometimes. More posts does not mean a bigger platform, in fact it can often times weaken it.
And then there is writing time in general. I used to take every little nook and cranny time I had to write. But I became very burnt out on writing because of it. I'm finding that I can write more words--and better quality words--when I, for example, write for 4 hours at a time verse 6 stinks of one-hour-writing times. But that is me. YOU might find the opposite.
So my encouragement to you today--especially if you are time strapped and feeling overwhelmed--invest a few hours into really looking at your writing life. Pray about it. Examine what you are doing and identify what isn't working--what is taking up your time and energy and giving you little or no return (be it money, word count, platform, blog followers, etc) on your investment.
Because time and energy are just as much investments as money is. Just a different variety!
What are some areas in your writing life where you need to "work smarter?" I'll be around throughout the day, and would love to help brainstorm some ideas with you!