WEEK 50 - On the Road to 2022: #VoidDeckWriter Lessons!
Week 50 with two more to go. As much as I’m glad to say that I’ve definitely written a lot more than I have in a year, here are some #WriterLife lessons I’d like to share with all of you.
Week 50 with two more to go. I don’t know about you but it really seemed like yesterday when I challenged myself to write a newsletter every week just to get more comfortable with writing more regularly - as honestly as possible. And as much as I’m glad to say that I’ve definitely written a lot more than I have in a year, here are some lessons I’d like to share with all of you - from a #WriterLife front:
Focus is a lot more about habit & mindset
When I entered 2021, I got the advice to “focus” from a whole lot of sources. This was mostly because I was trying to do a lot of things at the same time - day job, get fit, write game, write novel, write newsletter, game, read, start YouTube / Instagram channel etc… I’m not the most patient person, and I’m also (still) battling against this “I’ve wasted a lot of my time” mindset. Therefore, you must have figured that this piece of advice was quite counterintuitive to what I wanted to do.
So I jumped into my attempts at focus. And this was what I learnt:
Focus and concentration are not so much about force than it is about combining a mindset of willingness and being kind to yourself while building a new, desired habit. When I wanted to “force” myself to concentrate and focus, I often ended up listing things to “multi-task” with consecutively so that I can finish a lot at once - then feel like crap when I could hardly make a dent on my list.
A good mindset that leads to better focus and mindset has nothing to do with “toxic positivity” or “thinking positive always”. Instead, I found that the “slow growth” and “being kind to yourself” mindset served me a lot more, like so:
Slow Growth: That my success is destined - all I need to do is to keep at it and take care of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually. This way, I am super grateful for each step of the journey and can maintain that level of appreciation and fun for the process.
Being Kind to Yourself: That I cannot produce anything good while I’m self-flagellating. Ideas may come in the time of necessity but there’s really no point in deliberately harming your health just to produce good work. Would you rather be happy every day as you appreciate the journey and then be just as or happier when you reach your destination or constantly remind yourself of the bitterness and resentment you harbour about the “injustice” of it all, letting yourself (and only yourself) suffer until you reach a stage where you can bask and rub your “success” in other people’s faces?
BONUS: One more lesson I got in terms of focus and mindset (as a bonus!) was also the irony of how things work - the “you will get what you want when you let it go” philosophy. And as I reflect, I realise how true it was for me. For example: By appreciating and enjoying the process of creating Unstable Directions : Chapter 2, instead of harping on how well it’s going to do, I found myself enjoying my launch, the stories, and all the bonus content (ahem) a lot more, regardless of how many people actually bought the book or gone through the puzzle baits I’ve laid down.
While I’ll say that I don’t have all this mindset work figured out, I am grateful for the lessons it has given me so far - and how much lighter I do feel as compared to the end of last year.
Numbers can sometimes give you a lot more stress than you realise
Random line that popped into my head as I’m typing this - The best way to win the numbers game is to not play.
Not consciously, at least.
I guess people are drawn to metrics and indicators of success / progress, which is why it’s always:
Please have 10,000 followers to qualify
At least 5 years of experience working in a supervisory role
Each ticket for the platinum tier costs $3,000
Numbers can make decision-making a lot more streamlined and filter out people who just spray and pray. However, concentrating mostly on numbers, or worse, pegging your happiness on numbers (which is an external circumstance that you cannot control) can lead to a great deal of headaches and issues in the long term.
Because instead of worrying about your craft and creating the best works you want to create, you’re worrying about whether your social media posts are getting maximum exposure and looking at ways to game the system. And we all often know how obsessive or constant comparison to other “more successful” creators can end up doing to ourselves.
For this, I found something created by Matt D’Avella and his Slow Growth team - Goodbye Metrics - where you can hide all your numbers while you concentrate on creating the best content you can.
And why is creating the best content you can that much more important? It brings me to the next major lesson I’m learning once more.
The best marketing is a product you can start behind & talk about passionately
When I was doing my Masters research, one of the greatest challenges I received from writers and publishers alike was (and is) that of branding and marketing. Even in my current mastermind group, it continues to be a challenge. And then, the LITO podcast gave me a piece of advice that I feel aligns with my situation a lot more than I’d like to admit -
Marketing is talking to other people about what you do as much as you can.
Following that piece of advice is another line I found myself giving to another writer friend when they were a little concerned with how well their book was doing - The best marketing is a good product. Or in our case, a product we can stand behind and talk about with the same passion we have for our works.
So at the end of it, it’s really a case of - if you want to write better, write and read more. And write, practice, and do so until you have a story you’re truly happy with - because how can others promote your story for you if you can’t promote and stand behind your own story in the first place?
One more question with regards to this point before I leave you all to it - what is marketing if you don’t have a product to sell in the first place? (And that is why many creators will also tell you that the best way to build your following is to create consistently, and work towards creating well)
And that’s it from me, see you all next week!
How do you incorporate your creative processes with the other aspects of your life? Are your processes streamlined or just incorporated with the other aspects of your life? Let us know in the comments!