One of the traps we can fall into is we believe the world is somehow static. We feel overwhelmed because we are doing dishes again, the laundry again, mowing the yard again and cooking meals again. It’s easy to feel caught in this loop that can get depressing with a quickness. The same thing can happen in writing.
The world does not reward perfection, it REWARDS FINISHERS. It rewards DOERS. What are we doing?
Our goals in life need daily feeding. Our writing needs daily care. Our brand needs daily care. Entropy is real, and she’s a $#@%$. She will make sure everything we do falls apart faster than a three-year-old’s sock drawer if we aren’t vigilant. Our In-Box will never be empty. The rest is easier if we just accept that.
Our Brand is a Living Thing
Living things need to be fed, just like pets, kids and husbands. They need daily care. We can’t say, “Sure, I fed the dog last week” and expect Fluffy to live long. A lot of writers (me included) whine about social media.
What is the bare minimum? What is the minimal attendance? Do we really HAVE to blog?
We can feed our kids once a week and they remain alive. Probably a super bad idea. We don’t have to play with our kids or even talk to our spouse. Yet, how healthy will kids, pets, family and marriages be if we only do the bare minimum to sustain life?
Our brand is the same. Our author CAREER is the same.
No one will haul us to writer jail if we only tweet once a day. Don’t use Facebook. No one will force us. But here’s the hard reality. In a world where people are inundated with advertising and free books, they have learned to “unsee.” The cerebral cortex is very efficient at processing chaos of the modern world.
How does the visual cortex keep our
computer brain from crashing with all the massive influx? It ignores virtually everything but what we are specifically looking for.
Ads Don’t Sell, RELATIONSHIPS SELL
When was the last time you bought something off a Facebook ad? What about pop-ups? Ever buy anything off a dancing ad you didn’t ask for? Or did you shut that sucker so fast you couldn’t even tell what they were selling? What about automatically generated tweets? When was the last time, you bought a book off author link spam? Or a form letter?
Brands are Formed with Relationships and Relationships NEED FEEDING
I encourage writers to blog. Heck, it should be an area of strength—WORDS. Writers write. Blogs have the power to create long-term passionate relationships with…readers. Only about 8% of the population defines themselves as avid readers. This means 92% of the population still needs entertaining and informing. Most of them have smart phones, and a lot have tablets. They won’t go to a bookstore…but they will buy on-line.
Are we talking to them?
Again…Relationships Lead to Sales
Regular people (the 92%) like short works. They LIKE blogs. If they like our blogs, not a stretch to think they might even enjoy our books. Who cares if someone only buys one or two books a year if it is OUR BOOKS? People buy from who they know and who they like.
Blogs are the most resilient form of social media. Friendster? MySpace? *POOF* GONE. Blogs? Still here and going strong since the 90s.
Blogs grow in power the longer and more frequent we contribute content. It helps our SEO. Blogs can be harvested for books. Blogging trains us to ship. Blogging helps us get over perfectionism and hones our skills.
We learn to meet self-imposed deadlines no matter what. Family drama, crises, injuries, sickness and housework don’t magically disappear once we are successful. If anything, the workload increases. With blogging, we learn to write, leaner, meaner, faster and better, because we are training. Blogs are the gym for the author.
How good is a gym if we go once a month? Our bodies won’t retain muscle and general health if we don’t train. Why would our writing be any different?
If blogs can create long-term, loyal relationships, and relationships lead to sales, how much are we feeding those relationships?
Don’t want to blog? Don’t, but DO focus on people. Focus on relationships. Serve first. Talk about kittens and laundry and kittens doing laundry. Just be human a few times a day and CARE. Relationships are about giving not taking. Do you like friends who only remember you when they decide to sell vitamins? Or when they need to borrow money? Noodle on that ;).
Writing is a Living Thing in Need of Care
Yes, the brand and platform is important, but only because it should lead to sales. Feed the relationships and feed the craft. Read, watch movies and write. FINISH. SHIP. Again, the entropy thing. Keep writing. Get stronger, better, write more books. Most authors (traditional and non-traditional) start seeing success/traction at BOOK THREE.
As I point one digital finger at you guys I have three pointing back at me. I’m not above this stuff. There are some areas I need to come up higher. I’ve been giving the excuses: But it’s so haaard. I don’t have tiiiimmmme. But I am not gooood at that. Well, if I don’t ever DO something, how can I expect to get GOOD at it? I am kicking my own @$$ about organization today, so this lecture is for me too. Don’t feel left out ;).
Yes, It IS a LOT of Juggling
I know when I get great at writing books, my blog starts getting puny. I start blogging really well and have to kick my own tail to get back to the WIP. It’s like a family. We have laundry and chores and yards and bills and most of us kinda want to stab Martha Stewart in the face.
Again, be realistic. Small steps every day. A lot of the SAME steps. Just like we have to cook dinner every night. Unless we cryogenically freeze our families, we will have to feed them, wash them and care for them every day.
The point of this post is to help shift how you view your career. It is a living thing, a member of the family and it needs tending daily. A lot of the SAME stuff. Once we accept this, it’s much easier and we are far less likely to get depressed and overwhelmed.
How well are you feeding your dream? What steps do you take daily to make sure your writing an brand are cared for? What obstacles do you face? What are your biggest challenges? Do you have an area you’re afraid to face? It’s too overwhelming? Hey, I do. That whole “getting organized” thing is kicking my tail today.
I love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of May, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.
At the end of May I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!