Thursday, April 4, 2019

Marie Kondo-ing Your Writing Career

I had a new release a couple of months ago and now I'm deep in the weeds of (re)writing my next book, so I've been thinking a lot about how I want the rest of the year to shape up. And I've decided there's one thing I'm looking for above all else.


It sounds hokey, right? This is my CAREER. I spend a lot of money on covers, editing and ads, and I'm not doing this because I have a trust fund somewhere for all of that. I've come a long way in redefining my version of success as it relates to money, but I still want/need to make some. But for the rest of 2019 - and maybe longer - I'm taking the Marie Kondo approach to my writing career, and I'm going to advocate that maybe you should, too.

If it doesn't bring you joy, rethink it.

Like...all that social media. 
Do you really need to be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest? More importantly, do you like being all of those platforms? I'm going to go out on a limb and say probably not. I know I don't. Twitter, especially, does my head in, (although I'm keeping my account so I can follow We Rate Dogs and Thoughts of Dog). And so I can signal-boost my author friends when they have something to shout about. Otherwise, in my quest to Marie Kondo my social media, I've decided Twitter is a passive platform for me. Is it a missed opportunity? Maybe, but Facebook and Instagram are where I like to be.

But not too often
To the surprise of no one, I've discovered that I work best when I get my words in before I dive into Facebook or Instagram. But I've also discovered my overall mental health is better too. Less FOMO, less multi-tasking, less mindless scrolling means more productive time I actually feel good about. I've started not even logging into Facebook until late afternoon and, it kind of pains me to say it, but I'm not missing much that I can't catch up on.

And sometimes the highlight reel is enough
There's a lot of noise on the internet and it doesn't always come from social media. Author chat groups, blogs, Goodreads. Checking sales/page reads and rank. Yep. In my quest for more joy, I'm marking KDP as noise. 

Question for you: How many times a day do you log in to check your sales and/or rank? I used to keep my KDP tab open in my browser and would flip over to it at least hourly, even when I didn't have a big sale or a new release. I justified it to myself by saying I always had ads running but truthfully it was another thing sapping both my joy and productivity. On a normal day, a check in the morning and another check at night are enough for me. I can still adjust ads accordingly based on the result (and my ad spend isn't crazy enough that I'm losing tons of money if my sales slide for a day), and I'm off the roller coaster of emotions that come with both a really great sales day and/or a really bad sales day. It's liberating.

So is setting work hours
I used to work all the hours I could. If I wasn't writing, I was making graphics, scheduling social media posts, reading blogs, catching up on industry news. God, it was stressful - mostly because it always felt like I would never catch up. It was only when I realized that for me catching up equaled done - and that was never going to happen - that I stopped. The truth is, there is always something more to be done. See any of the above, then add things like: updating back matter, revamping your website, finally writing that YA fantasy you keep thinking about. Oh wait, that's me. But the truth is once I acknowledged that I could work twenty hours a day and still not be done, it became a lot easier to be done for the day at a reasonable hour, to sometimes watch TV and to seldom work weekends. Weekends are my reading time and that, my friends, sparks joy.

Tell me what about your writing career sparks joy and what could you Marie Kondo?


Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

I agree with all of this. I quit using Tumblr. Social media uses are best served for the audience you write to. Adults use FB and Insta, teens like Tumblr and Snapchat, and networking happens on Twitter.

Time is best spent writing.

Karissa Laurel said...

So many good ideas here. I waste entirely too much time on nonsense that isn't writing. And I agree that We Rate Dogs is the best reason to stay on Twitter.

Brenda St John Brown said...

Kimberly - The fact that Snapchat and Tumbler didn't even get a mention probably speaks volumes. :) Also, I have zero desire to "engage" on another platform.

Brenda St John Brown said...

Karissa - I LOVE We Rate Dogs so much. The ads for Dumbo were BRILLIANT.

Carrie Beckort said...

I gave up on Twitter a long time ago. But I might have to check out this We Rate Dogs... I do wish I could get off all social media. These days I'm more on it to keep tabs on the kid rather than promote my books. It's all noise.

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