Are You Starving Your Writing Career? Here’s How to Nourish It.

I have been thinking a lot about how we each invest in our future. I just launched a course for writers called Build Your Author Platform, and when one of my students signed up, they included this note with their payment:

“I’m using every penny I earned last year on my writing to pay for this course–as an investment in my future.”

As I built this course, I spent a lot of time considering the value of what I was offering, and the appropriate price. I definitely feel the course is of very high value, but I’m not going to pretend that $795 is nothing short of an investment for most people. And this is something I take VERY seriously – respecting this investment, and the sacrifice and motivation that comes with it.

So today I want to talk about how we invest in our careers. And more often, how we don’t: how we starve our careers. How do we do that? Here’s a just a few ways:

“I’m Too Busy”
We live in a multitasking culture, where most people are juggling their job, family, home, hobbies, and other obligations. So we find solace in describing how busy we are, in how much we are sacrificing already; that there is no room to invest time in something like a writing career.

“Someone Else Took My Idea”
Your clever idea is not the only thing that will propel you to success. If you have an idea, and someone else has released something similar, don’t fret. A great idea is one part of the equation, but it takes hard work to make it a reality. It is those who persevere despite obstacles like this that create something that people love. Consider how you will create a work that is of unique value, even within a crowded marketplace. Do you think JK Rowling looked at the thousands of other wizard and fantasy books on the market and said… it’s already saturated, why bother? Honestly, the world would have lost something if she did.

Waiting for Someone Else to Make it Happen
I am a huge believer in working with others to make your dreams a reality. But that doesn’t mean that you are sitting idly waiting for the phone to ring, that you feel that unless that one right person gets your project in their hands, that you alone are powerless to push it forward. You have to do that, slowly, without fanfare, day after day.

Clearly, there are many other ways that we sabotage our own success. We hide behind empty quotes from movies – things that make us feel as though we are justifying our lack of progress, but that really represent a journey that has stalled.

So then, how does one nourish their career? How do you move beyond the challenges that we all face? Here are some ideas:

Invest in Being Open to New Ideas
Too many people feel they know everything. Sure, we have all ‘been around the block’ – we all have skills, experience and value. But sometimes, a little new information can reframe the opportunities before us. Don’t assume that something new isn’t for you. It can be easy to make pithy comments about new trends, disregarding them outright. But doing so can rob you of the possibilities of what that new thing can bring – perhaps something positive. The goal here is not even the knowledge itself, it is to approach the world with a sense of openness. Being jaded is so out of style.

Invest in Connection
It’s incredibly how much of success is filled with kind-hearted souls giving you that helping hand. This is why I am such an advocate of social media, such an advocate of taking people out to lunch. Your precious idea will not become a success if you covet it and don’t connect it to others. It will be built on the good will of others. Too many ‘brilliant ideas’ die a lonely death.

Invest in Structured Learning
Commit yourself to a process that will move you forward – something such as a class or workshop. Yes, I have a course to offer writers building their platform – but so do many others. If you learn best this way – with a group, with an instructor, with a structured curriculum, find one that works for you and make the investment.

Invest in Motivation
This is the scarcest resource on earth – the motivation to make things happen. It breaks all other barriers. Do you feel you don’t have any time to get to your writing? The motivated person finds time. Everyone else doesn’t. I know it’s hard to be positive all the time, hard to make time to do one more task. But often, it is these little things that separate those who do, and those who don’t.

Invest in Yourself, Not Objects
It’s easy to feel that some shiny new object will make us whole – that it is the missing puzzle piece to get us on track. But instead of buying stuff, invest in creating a path connecting you from where you are to where you need to be. This means investing in the things inside of you.