Are You Writing The Wrong Thing? Life and Focus for Writers
We hear it all the time: “There has never been a better time to be a writer.”
The digital world has provided us with more opportunities to write and to get our stories into the world more than any other writer in the history of storytelling (so, like, forever) has ever had.
We can reach more people with our stories. More of us are making good livings with our writing. We have a bunch more options than writers even a decade ago. Want to publish a book? Do it. There’s no one left to tell us that we can’t.
It is true. There has never been a better time to be a writer. I know it, and I’m incredibly grateful for these opportunities.
But there’s a catch.
We have so, so, so many options.
Now, this isn’t something to complain about. Quite the opposite.
We’ve got dozens of choices as to where to publish our books and how to promote them. We can write blogs, books, short stories, epic novel series, novellas. We can podcast. We can get into dozens of social media channels and connect with readers everywhere, anytime. We can do video blogs. Book trailers. Turn our stories into multi-media extravaganzas. We can even submit to agents and traditional publishers.
And there are hundreds (more!) people in the world right now suggesting we do all these things and giving us incredibly valuable information as to how we can do them.
All of them.
There’s the rub.
The ease of access to information and so many great options often leads us to write (or otherwise focus on) the wrong things.
Writers are meant to be everything, all things to all people. Or at least that’s what it seems like if you stop and listen to even a fraction of the advice for writers on offer every second.
Writers have to blog, do social media, get the online platform happening, market, buy ads, do courses, go to in person events, join critique groups, make videos, make a podcast.
And it’s good advice. It’s all valuable stuff.
But when are we meant to write books and tell stories?
With all of the options that make this the best time to be a writer, it’s easy to forget, as writers, that we’re in this game to be telling stories.
Not blogging. Writing books. Not “doing” social media. Writing. Not podcasting. Writing.
The options are overwhelming, and a lot of writers or would-be writers assume it’s all mandatory.
Or at the very least, writers know they have the choices, but which option is best?The digital world gives writers more options to diversify but this means we have a greater need to focus.Click To Tweet
OK, before you start sending me angry emails (just another thing to write, right?), let me qualify…
I love blogging. I listen to writers’ podcasts, watch videos, take courses, attend events, all the time. I enjoy getting into Facebook and Twitter, connecting with readers and other authors. I love it!
This ancillary content is amazing. For so many authors it’s key to their author platform. For so many up and coming authors, this content is a beautifully generous resource.
But it doesn’t mean anything without the books to back it up.
I hear it all the time from writers: “Do I need to have a blog?”
Having a website is a damn good idea just to let your readers know what you’ve written and how they can contact you. But that doesn’t need to be a blog. No, you don’t need to do a podcast. No, you don’t need to have a Facebook page or spend hours on Twitter every day “connecting”.
What you need to do is write stories.
Put those stories out in the world in whatever way is best for you. And do it again.
Once you’ve got that ball rolling, then think about the other stuff.
In the words of the ever-insightful team at SPP, “Write, Publish, Repeat.”
Write. Publish. Repeat.
Yes, that incredibly insightful book also teaches writers how to do all the other stuff. But it always comes back to the core principle, and the only strategy that any writer needs to focus on to succeed:
Write books. Write more books.
Everything else is an option and should be treated as such. You don’t have to blog or podcast or any of the rest of it.
Do you want to blog or podcast?
Great! Do it! Love it!
But do that after you’ve finished your book.
Write more books.
The books that YOU want to write.
And then write another one.
Do the rest of the stuff in between.
Write more books.
Do it again.
p.s In the spirit of this topic, and in an effort to walk the walk of the talk I talk (or write), I’ll be dialing down the posting schedule here in the Write Turn. I love blogging and sharing the writer’s journey with so many excellent writers. But I also love writing books and the time has come where a couple more need some focussed attention if they’re ever going to make it out into the world. I’ll still be around – I’m not going off the grid (though a few writers I know do just that when they want to get a book done). I’m just going into Deep Work mode for a few months.
Want to join me?
Let’s go write books. After all, there has never been a better time to be a writer.
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