ASC: Don’t Do It All

Welcome to my 2020 Author Survival Course.

I’ll be offering free tips on how to successfully write and publish books in 2020. As you’re probably aware, things change quickly in both writing and marketing, and so much of the writing tips you find out there are outdated by the time you find them. My goal is to help aspiring, new, and veteran authors to successfully navigate the waters of a writing career in today’s market.

So let’s get to it!

Tip #1: Don’t Do It All.

Seriously. If you’re already doing this, you need to stop. And if you’re considering doing this, don’t. What am I talking about? Webpages, blog posts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Bookbub, Rafflecopter, street teams, influencers, book signings, professional organizations, mentoring groups, critique groups, writing conferences, writing classes, Bookfunnel…the list goes on and on. The list, quite literally, has no end.

So why shouldn’t you do it all? They’re good things. Most of those things will help promote your book to some degree, or will improve your writing, or will please your publisher/agent. So what’s the problem?

The problem is that you’re one person with a limited amount of time. (I just heard you gasp.) It’s true. You have a limited amount of time. I know that writing is your passion. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be here. But you do have other aspects of your life–you have friends, family, maybe a day job, and certainly you need to care for your own health. You cannot do all of those things and do them well. Something will suffer–from experience I can tell you it’s often either your writing or your health or both.

So for our first “Author Survival” lesson, I want to give you permission to pull back. Say no to a few things. I’d go so far as to suggest that you choose the 3 or 4 things that you do very well, things you look forward to doing, and commit to those for the next few months. You’re not giving up on Facebook forever (though perhaps you should–more on that later). You’re not abandoning your critique group. You’re recognizing that there’s only one you, and that you need to set boundaries on this thing you call writing.

I had a preacher once who said that “priorities are what you do.” I took issue with that. I had a lot of priorities, but I didn’t get around to “doing” all of them. Over the years, I’ve come to see he was right.

So set your priorities. Take care of yourself. Stop trying to do it all.

We’ll talk again soon.