I love that old saying – how do you eat an elephant… one bite at a time! But sometimes it just feels endless doesn’t it? I mean, the very nature of this industry – writing for a living – is one that takes time to develop. It doesn’t matter how much you think you’ve done, there’s always something more to do. And so my daily and weekly author task list helps, but it sure is a long list!
A typical week for me looks like:
- Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – check, post, review, reply and advertising.
- Canva – keep developing new images for posting with blogs and social media.
- Amazon – check stats, sales, and moderate anything that needs it in my uploads.
- AMS – Amazon Advertising, to check, measure, and add campaigns.
- Blogs – writing, checking, reading.
- Keywords – adding new ones, checking what’s working and what’s not, and reviewing – constantly reviewing!
- Mailchimp – newsletters, lists, automation, and reviews of activities.
And that’s before I even start to write!
Plus there’s reading – the blogs and posts from other authors and those whom I follow to learn from .
Research – sometimes this can be just one more endless task too but so very necessary!
And finally – study time. I’m currently enrolled in three new courses to ensure that this year I maximise my abilities to build up my career as a full time (well paid) author.
While these things all need time and attention, they all seem to need the same amount of input from me. If I don’t keep on top of Social Media, I lag behind in sales. If I skip reading blogs, doing my study program, or even just reading for pleasure (which I try to do for about two hours per week to keep my own writing skills sharp) then I notice I fall behind in sales and development, and of course I can’t afford to stop the actual writing either as I put pressure on myself to produce content.
While it’s a full time job to be a writer, no one ever said that more than half of an author’s time is spent doing everything but actually writing. But that’s the way of it now. The Ernest Hemmingway fantasy of sitting over a typewriter amid a cluster of sandflies while banging out a new chapter or three every week for an editor and publishing team who sees that the production phase is all taken care of while his agent keeps him steady with income and drink is just that – a big fat old fantasy. So is the level of income derived from writing for most of us. And I have learned that you can’t just ‘decide at school to become a writer’ and go at it like you would an accounting or nursing career. You have to focus on continual learning, feeding your mind and imagination, being prepared to starve until you sell something, and accept there are no guarantees of anything – ever! But that if you manage to get the formula right, and create a great book (or five), then you really can anticipate success at some level as a writer.
So what’s the formula? Is there one?
Yes, I believe there is. In fact, several – from the writing, to the production, to the marketing and distribution there are formulas for developing and publishing GOOD books. But just as important as the formulas, is the need for patience. Because it does take time. As with most ‘overnight success’ stories, there are thousands of hours (nights) that go into creating anything truly outstanding in the creative arena. And so you can’t enter this industry lightly, hoping for a magic carpet ride towards the big bucks and fancy awards!
This coming weekend I will be presenting a workshop session on publishing for thought leaders. So this topic has been high on my mind this week. Just what does it take to eat an elephant? Patience enough to consistently keep chewing away at it, one bite at a time!