This past week I was speaking with one of my co-workers about a big test he is studying for. It’s something he has been studying for, for over a year at this point and something he has failed, which only increases the importance he personally places on passing it this second time around. As part of our discussion, we talked about what he feels he needs to do for the second test. He admitted to definitely needing to mentally and spiritually prepare himself as he no longer feels invincible this time (a byproduct of his first score). But beyond that, he also talked about working smarter not harder. Of course, I couldn’t help but apply his sound revelation to writing.
To me, writing has been all about hard work. It is something you constantly work at and often times, you receive so much negative feedback that many writers ask themselves whether it truly is all worth it. If you love writing, I believe it is, although I’ll also say that writing is not for the faint-hearted and that you better be prepared to thicken up your skin if you haven’t already.
So what is this about working smarter? Is there actually a way we can work smarter when it comes to writing? I have to admit that I don’t know but I’m sure going to try. What I have learned is that there are a few things you can start early on:
- Decide your brand and your target audience. This is of course determined by what you want to write. Still, it does allow you to set some sort of expectations with yourself. If you’re not sure what I mean, draw from the current market. What books are the big sellers and why? If you don’t want to follow trends, don’t, but you also need to realize it may take a bit more effort to make it big if that is what you are aiming for.
- Start a blog and keep up with it. This is really hard if you are strapped for time, especially as you will want to devote a lot of time to writing. It may not see like you are working smarter here but I’m telling you that in the long run, this will pay off. Your audience if they love your books and characters will want to interact with you and they will look for more. This helps immensely from a promotion standpoint.
- Allocate time to writing and stick to it. Writing comes with many temptations beyond daydreaming. Sitting in front of a computer or tablet can easily lead you to internet surfing (even research which is not bad all the time), spending time on social sites such as facebook, twitter, etc. and perhaps even critiquing/reviewing other writer’s works. All of these are very important but it’s easy to get pulled into one or the other. Since writing is the end goal, I say allocate time to it and then the rest comes later. If it helps though, you could always plan your day with more structure by allocating to all of the above.
The truth is there are probably tons more ways to work smarter but these three tips will give you a good start and they are definitely ways I would have done it if I could begin again. Thanks for visiting today and if you want to leave your own comment and recommendation, please feel free (I’m always looking for ways I can improve)!
Happy Writing this week!