author life

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     One of the questions I am asked frequently by writers of all stages is how to balance writing and marketing with the demands of real life. Woo, is that a tough question! The struggle is real!  It’s definitely something I’ve been working on in my own life. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about FOCUS and the creative person’s tendency to get distracted by  OMGALLTHESHINIES  and/or procrastinate important tasks in favor of watching nerdy historical videos on Youtube (not that I do that *shifty eyes*).  This week, as I was watching my husband teach a ballet partnering class and repeatedly tell an inexperienced dancer to  look  where she wanted to go (in this case, UP!), it hit me.  Balance is all about FOCUS.  If we’re constantly looking around and trying to go a bunch of different directions at once (I call this shiny squirrel syndrome…it’s a thing), we will spin in circles and fall on our face. BUT, if we actually focus consistently on where we want to go and what we want to do, we might actually make progress toward our dreams—and feel much less frazzled in the process.  Sometimes more isn’t always better. I’m always over-thinking things. Making them more complicated than they have to be. Or letting myself get caught up in the details instead of focusing all my efforts on what will move the needle most in my writing life and business.  Sound familiar? So, how do we learn to focus and achieve better balance in our lives?            For me, the key has been  simplifying.  I create a path based on my Top Three Goals. Let me explain what I mean.   Step #1 : I pick my top three goals for the quarter. I do this for my life, marketing efforts/business, and my writing.    Step #2 : I write down what it will take to accomplish those goals, and break it down into my top three (and only three!) for each month and week.    Step #3 : I prioritize my top three goals. Life happens. Stuff comes up. Just this week my husband and I’s phones died and he was in a car wreck. Prioritizing your goals based on what will move the needle the most (aka give you the most progress in your life/marketing/business for the effort) will tell you where to  focus  your limited time and resources when life happens and you can only get one or maybe two of the three done.    Step #4 : At the beginning of each week, I look at my schedule and top three goals in each category, and decide what needs to happen when in order of priority. Then I do the  most important task first, then the second, etc.  This helps keep me from procrastinating and wasting time on unimportant tasks that are “more fun.”    Step #5 : At the end of the week/month, I re-evaluate. What progress did I make on my goals? Do I need to reassign anything? Alter my goals and priorities to make them more realistic? Simplify my efforts or postpone a project?            Proper planning and prioritizing doesn’t keep setbacks and life disappointments from happening. But it WILL help you focus on what’s most strategic and important, so you can maintain the delicate balance and make progress toward your goals  without  feeling frazzled and overwhelmed.       Question of the Week: What are your top three goals for this month?

Balance is all about FOCUS.

If we’re constantly looking around and trying to go a bunch of different directions at once (I call this shiny squirrel syndrome…it’s a thing), we will spin in circles and fall on our face. BUT, if we actually focus consistently on where we want to go and what we want to do, we might actually make progress toward our dreams—and feel much less frazzled in the process.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Sometimes it can be hard to condense all the ideas floating around in your head into a cohesive, clear vision for WHY you write and WHO you’re writing to.    Can I get an amen?  So,  today we’re going to look at a simple tool I use to clarify your vision for your writing and why you go through the pain and frustration of the author journey.  Hint: It has to do with your WHY and your audience.    It’s called an author purpose statement.  Here’s an example:       Hi, I'm Jennifer and I'm a YA fantasy author writing for teen girls, ages 16-18, struggling with    body image and self-image issues. I help them embrace their natural shape, so they can be    confident in the person they were created to be.      Simple and straightforward, right? Let’s unpack this a little bit. What are the elements covered in this author purpose statement?      Hi, I'm    [NAME]    and I'm a    [BOOK GENRE]    author writing for    [YOUR IDEAL READER]    who are    struggling with    [THEIR BIGGEST FEAR/STRUGGLE]   . I help them    [MINDSET SHIFT]   , so they can     [POSITIVE IMPACT ON THEIR LIFE]   .      Okay. So, now we can see the puzzle pieces that make up this very clear vision. What does this look like for you?       STEP #1: What’s your book genre?  This includes sub-genres as well, like steampunk, space opera, urban fantasy, etc. A clear statement of your (sub)genre  tells your reader what to expect . This lowers the risk for them, and makes them more likely to buy your book.       STEP #2: Who is your ideal reader?  If you’re not sure who is your ideal reader (or how to start finding them),  start with last week’s blog post  on identifying your ideal reader. This includes information like age, life stage, etc. Hint: If you’re writing YA, your audience is teenagers.       STEP #3: What is your ideal reader’s biggest struggle or insecurity?  This is super, super important to know about your readers. I suggest creating an ideal reader profile with this information. More about how to uncover your ideal reader’s deepest struggles in  my FREE workbook, “5 Steps to a Tribe-Building Author Brand.”        Step #4: What mindset shift do you want to see in your readers?  At its heart, we write stories to communicate with our readers. Yes, we want them to be entertaining. But we also want to emotionally engage with our readers and impact them in some way. Maybe you want to encourage your readers through a tough time, or help them not feel alone in their struggles. Think about what shift you want to create in your readers’ thoughts and emotions.       Step #5: What positive, tangible change do you want to see in your readers’ lives?  Maybe they have the courage to ask for that raise, stand up to a bully, or launch their own business. Maybe they stop placing their identity in others’ opinions, and start doing what they love (no matter what someone else thinks). This is key to your purpose statement. It’s WHY you write.      Okay, time to bring it together!  Plug your answers into the author purpose statement. Does it feel clear? Authentic? 100 percent in line with you and your passions? If not, tweak it. Get more specific. If anything feels fuzzy or not quite right, dig deeper and get more specific.    Then, take this purpose statement and apply it to everything writing and business. Use it as the filter for your marketing. For the types of stories you tell. For the way you speak to your audience.    Show you know your ideal readers and can help inspire them to overcome their biggest fears and struggles, and achieve their dreams.        Craft your author purpose statement, and then post it in the comments! Who are you writing for and why?            

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Want to learn more?   Get access to  my FREE workbook, “5 Steps to a Tribe-Building Author Brand.”       
 
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Sometimes it can be hard to condense all the ideas floating around in your head into a cohesive, clear vision for WHY you write and WHO you’re writing to.

Can I get an amen?

So, today we’re going to look at a simple tool I use to clarify your vision for your writing and why you go through the pain and frustration of the author journey. Hint: It has to do with your WHY and your audience.

It’s called an author purpose statement. Here’s an example…