One of my many flaws is that I concentrate too much on my work. This isn’t a recent development, either. When I used to golf, as long as I didn’t get any email or a call that came in that I had to focus on, my game was fine. But as soon as I had to deal with work, my golf game suffered severely. It would frustrate and upset me to no end. But, since I was golfing during the morning work hours quite a bit, it was the reality of golfing.
Now that I’m writing every day, this is one of the primary reasons I get up so early and do my writing before I do anything for my day job. If my work interrupts me, it takes all of my focus away. I have plenty of time during the day to steal a few minutes here and there to write, but I can’t seem to steal my focus away from my work. My mind latches onto work and starts to go through a series of “what if” scenarios that never seem to leave me.
Similarly, if I’m doing my morning litter box duty, where I mine for ideas daily if my mind happens to drift towards work for the day, my creative self is completely shut down. At that point, I get frustrated and lose all creative energy. I haven’t figured out a way to combat this issue outside of trying to force my mind to not think about work. Sometimes it works, others, I lose the battle and can’t seem to get a single idea out.
This stems from a lifetime of making work my #1 priority. I haven’t been able to shift my energy from work to writing. I need to convince myself that writing is more important than my work. And it is. It’s my future work. It’s what will allow me to have complete freedom from working for corporations, at least in the current sense. I’m in sales now, and I manage a team of people. I generate revenue for the companies I work for, and I’m pretty good at that job. This will be very helpful later in life when I turn my sales skills towards my own “products.” I’m constantly thinking about how I can do better, how I can help my team focus on an area that we may have missed. But how do I turn that energy towards my writing?
The business of writing and selling writing is inherently more difficult than selling software. For me, the challenge is the personal nature of any product I produce. As writers, we tend to put our emotions and personality in our writing, so rejection is personal. When I sell software, especially software that I haven’t written, it’s not a personal affront if someone isn’t interested. But each person who doesn’t like my articles seems to chip away at my soul. A view without a like makes me question my writing. What did I miss that made that person not like the writing? Where did I go wrong, and how can I do better? It’s an obsession with something I’ve created, but that obsession is in me because it’s with that same energy that I challenge my day job with questions of how we can be better. It’s probably a mental illness.
My biggest flaw could be my savior once I have something to sell. My challenge will be that I’ll have to completely believe in my project. If I try to hock a piece of writing that I know isn’t my best work, I won’t be able to put my full effort into selling it. I have to believe in what I sell, I know that much. When I’ve worked for companies with inferior products, I’ve stayed away from those specific products because at some point, selling is putting your own reputation on the line, and I don’t want to have unhappy customers. That’s not the way to success. Repeat business is a good thing, and as I move forward, it seems to me that repeat customers will be the ticket to staying power rather than hit and run customers. I’d love to sell, but I’d rather have fans who look forward to my creations. That excites me more.
The challenge I face right now is that I’m getting ahead of myself. I don’t really have anything of substance to sell. I have an ebook that I’m working on that I will give away in exchange for email addresses. It’s my list-building content. But its focus is on other writers, not fiction fans. The more I write, the more I want to create fiction rather than non-fiction, so my initial target may be off, even a bit of a bait and switch, which bothers me a little. I may need to start working on some short fiction to offer up that as well to my budding list of 10 people.
I had a great idea for my novel that came out of my recent experiences. It sprouted somewhere between current events and reading Stephen King’s On Writing. It will really change the novel into something much more powerful than I had initially envisioned, but it will also allow me to get my point across in a way that is more personal than where I was going with the work previously.
I’m eager to get working on that, I’ve had the idea floating around in my head for some time now, and I have about 12,000 words written. Only a fraction of what I need for a full story, but I have a good start and a solid direction I want the story to go towards now. Now, I just need to obsess over the idea and get some writing time to focus on writing the story instead of blog ideas and the day job. All good things come to those who wait, eh? More like all good things come to those who work hard and don’t have any expectations, I say.
That’s my goal. Work, work, work, and try not to focus on the day job until work hours. It’s a constant struggle, but one that is key to my success going forward. I can’t wait until I can use that energy on my own work.
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