Imagine for a moment that you are flying to an exotic island. An hour or so into the flight the pilot announces over the intercom, “I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is our radio is out and our navigational equipment is damaged. The good news is we have a tail wind, so wherever we’re going, we’ll get there at a rate of six hundred miles an hour.”
(from Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow)
Momentum is great, but…
In your writing career, are you like the passengers on the good news/bad news plane ride? Are you barreling ahead at a lightning pace, but your radio is out and your navigation system is damaged? Are you traveling at 600 mph in your writing, but leaving the direction to chance and gut feelings?
These days, with the emphasis on the “platform” expected of writers, this is an easy mistake to fall into. We are told by marketing experts that we need to have a website and a blog (with up-to-the-minute search engine optimization), podcasts, teleseminars, and newsletters. We also need to be “seen” on social networks (like Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn) and quickly gain thousands of “friends” and “followers.” We need to read dozens of other writers’ blogs and leave links back to our websites. Doing even half of this takes hours every day, leaving you with the feeling that you’re zipping along through cyberspace at lightning speeds.
But what about your writing time? Are you flinging yourself out there to build a platform without a functioning navigation system? Do you know where you’re headed–and why?
Chart Your Own Course
If you try to jump on every bandwagon that comes along, you’ll continually rush, rush and wonder at the end of the day if you accomplished anything. You will miss valuable hours to study your craft, read books in your area of interest, and WRITE.
Be sure, if you’re building a platform, that each leg of it supports what you want to do as a writer. For example, with this blog and my newsletter, my overall goal is to help other writers. I announce blog posts (mine and others I’ve found helpful) on Twitter and Facebook. I don’t do all the other stuff. There’s no time–not if I also write.
I spend 4-5 hours most weeks on platform building. It’s more the first of the month due to writing the newsletter. I know many writers who are so caught up in social marketing that they have almost ZERO time to read and write. Whenever I ask them if the merry-go-round is worth it, I have NEVER had someone say “yes.” They always say, “I sure hope it will pay off someday.”
It’s Up to You!
Listen to all the marketing advice out there, but don’t jump on every bandwagon. Evaluate each idea, determine if it’s something that would fit the purpose of your writing, and still leave you enough time to write.
You don’t want to get to the end of your writing days and realize you’re clear off course. Chart your own course and determinedly stick to it.