I’ve been asked many times, especially in the last year or so, “How do you do so much?” I get a lot done because I am highly motivated, work smarter (not harder!), and because I have learned to focus by eliminating those things which either do not provide income or passion. In fact, last year was not only a time of great increase for me in my writing career, but also a time of pruning.
How do you know what to eliminate?
Here’s what I did. First I decided what to keep. After that it was easy to let things go – even things I really enjoyed.
- I made two columns on a sheet of notebook paper. They were uneven, about 2/3 and 1/3.
- On one side I listed all the writing “jobs” or projects I had. On the other side of the paper I listed the revenue income amount or projected return. (For example, an ebook I was working on was full of quality evergreen content and I estimated I would make a fair amount in return for the effort.)
- I went through the list and put a star next to anything that was something I felt passionate about. For example, at that time my plan for Untrained Housewife was taking an enormous amount of investment and energy, with ZERO income. But I felt passionate about the site and wasn’t willing to let it go. Some things you do because they feed you emotionally and spiritually, not because they feed you physically.
- Next I put a star beside anything that was paying a bill. 🙂 You can’t exactly argue with a steady income, right?
- I had, at the time, about a half dozen things left on the list. Only one of them is something I’m still currently involved with – the rest I let go. Simple as that. Emailed the appropriate people, thanked them for the experience and wished them well on their future endeavors.
How do you write at so many different places?
I either have total opposite topics on different sites, or I have the same exact topics on those various sites. For example, I use all of my alternative medicine knowledge and interests to write for Examiner‘s Alternative Medicine topic. I use all of my gardening stuff as a Plants and Bulbs Feature Writer at Suite101. But for what I’m doing at Blissfully Domestic Blogging Column, I use the same topics as what I’m writing about here. So when I did the post about increasing traffic to your blog, I used the same theme to post an entry on Blissfully Domestic from the reverse view – how to kill your blog. Same idea, just written from the opposite side of the coin. Which means I did zero research or even heavy thinking about my blissdom entry.
Doubling up your research, whenever possible is a huge way to help you focus. The other way to help you focus as a writer is to write in narrow article series. Instead of trying to do one huge post about Yellow Flowers, you can turn that yellow flower garden idea into several smaller posts about yellow perennials, yellow annuals and yellow flowering bulbs. Same amount of research – but two months worth of articles instead of one, single article.
Exercise for the Day:
Work Smarter – Think about topics that are currently popular on your blog. How can you continue to expand on that information? Can you use old research to create new posts, instead of having to do completely new research for every single post?
Work Where you NEED to be – Do you need to eliminate? Is there something that is neither feeding you emotionally nor feeding you monetarily? Why are you still doing it? Is it possibly something that should be eliminated, delegated or left alone for awhile?
Read the Ten Habits Day 10 to learn more about how to focus your writing efforts.