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  • Effectiveness and Distraction: The “Shoulds” of Writing

    Posted on April 9th, 2012 jean 2 comments

    Damn all those “Shoulds.”

    You know the ones. All those new fangled, fabulous must-have tools that everyone is touting and claiming will instantly make you “better” at this, that, and the other thing.

    Sure, you “should” try Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Klout, Blogging, Goodreads, etc. I mean, if you aren’t on those how on earth are you going to sell your books when you get published?

    Did I just give you a case of heart palpitations with that last paragraph?

    Good.

    Now stop.

    Breathe.

    Think about it. There are a lot of tools us writers “should” use to reach and build our audience. Right? But really, can we do it all? No.

    Effectiveness.

    If we spread ourselves too thin it distracts us from what we should really be doing–writing. How are we going to improve our craft if we aren’t actually engaging in it?

    We need to follow our passion and joy–the very thing we hope will bring home the bacon. It’s that passion and joy for our work that engages our readers. If we aren’t pursuing that… then we are doing a disservice to both ourselves and to our audience.

    It’s a fact of life that we can’t be effective at everything. There simply isn’t enough time and energy. If Facebook is really working for you, then why force Twitter into your toolbox? Especially if you can’t make it work in an effective way for you. Every tool has it’s own job. If you need a screwdriver and never a hammer, then quite trying to use the hammer on your screws. It isn’t effective and simply distracts you from getting the real work done.

    Being Busy Doesn't Equal Being Effective

    Being busy doesn’t equal being effective.

    Personally, I’m still figuring out what is effective for me in terms of building a platform for It’s All Kid’s Play. But one thing I’m going to do is finish the research books I have on the go and get the new website revamping done and keep moving forward! Then I can sort through what is distracting me, thinning my time, and reducing my effectiveness.

    Tell me, what tools are distracting you? What “shoulds” are weighing heavy on you?

  • The Fear of Finishing Last

    Posted on April 1st, 2012 jean 6 comments

    Slow and steady wins the race, right?

    Right now my husband is out running a 5K in high winds, pushing our little guy in a stroller. I’m at home.

    Why? Oh, I have a ton of excuses for not registering in the fun run. Everything from I’m sure I won’t have the energy to I haven’t done much running since the Gorilla Run last fall–which I really enjoyed–and so I feel unprepared, to¬† not having a babysitter for our older child to who knows what the weather will be to maybe there will be scary hills… I could go on.

    But the truth is layered in fear. I was afraid. Not of finishing last, but really sucking. Of it being painful. Of having to compete with people I know who have been training all winter. Of it not being any stinkin’ fun. Of losing/failing publicly.

    All these stupid fears that are holding me back of doing something enjoyable–husband is now back and had fun just walking and running with the group from work–also holds me back with writing. That fear of finishing last–or close to last. Of not making it. Of showing up all geared up and everyone knowing… and then completely bombing it. It’s that fear of admitting I’m trying something new… something I may fail at. And having to face up to the fact that I couldn’t do it. That I failed. Of not being able to cross that finish line. A DNF (did not finish).

    Nobody wants a DNF stamped across on their writing career. Nobody wants to go through the pain and hard work and not experience a reward at the end. Nobody wants to have to try and explain to their family and friends why they are still not published.

    It’s easier to make a fool of ourselves in private, rather than in our nested hometown. And that’s why so few people in my real life know that I write. But I am realizing that maybe, in order to succeed, I need that hometown support. I need my friends cheering me on and walking and running beside me in order to make it across the finish line. I need their connections. Their tips, ideas, and understanding.

    A friend on AQC just mentioned the three irons he has in the fire at the moment–and they are all due to networking and using his connections. And every book I’ve read lately about using social media effectively and building your brand says to use your friends. To get them on board. To use your connections. Your network. Let them know what you are doing and how they can support you. Use their belief in you to reach out to new people.

    And if you are like me–too afraid to let them know what you are doing–how are they going to be able to help you? How will I reach that next level? How will I use my social network to get the word out about what I’m doing if I’m too afraid to tell them?

    Quite plainly… I’m not. And that’s why I’m going to have to pull up my big girl pants and ask the people in my life to help me spread the word. Otherwise I will be today’s April Fool.

    If you are too afraid to start, how are you ever going to finish? Don't let fear rule your creativity.

    How about you? Have you had to pull up your big girl/boy pants and ask for help? How did it go? Any advice for me?