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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Writers Take Note On What’s Really Important



Capitalizing on opportunities is very important for writers.  But many of them, being writers, miss out on the opportunities before them.  I recently was reminded of this when I went to clean up piles of papers I’d saved for years.

I’m fairly organized but I do let one bad habit to creep in – collecting information but then not following up on it.  I’ll get a good idea and note it on a scrap of paper.  I’ll find a list of people that I want to connect with and file it away.  I’ll read an interesting book or article, highlight something to follow-up on, and then push it to the side.

As I went sifting through hundreds of sheets of paper, some filled with hand-scribbled notes and others neatly typed, I couldn’t help but wonder how I let this happen.

Why do I hoard so much information, ideas, and contacts, but then fail to take the final step that brings a pay-off?  It’s as if I’m my own worst enemy, keeping myself from fully succeeding the way I know I’m capable of.

Maybe I simply demand too much of myself.

In other words, I fall short because I try to do too much.  I take on more than I can really execute.  My ideas will always outnumber my hands and the clock.  I can’t out-think or out-do that reality.

So now I’m thinking of keeping things simpler.  If I think something’s important enough to clip or note, then within a reasonable amount of time, I need to act on it – or else dismiss it and toss it.

Additionally, instead of always considering all possibilities about all things, I need to narrow my focus down to just a handful of key things, such as “blog”, “book”, “chores”, etc.  Up until now, I had focused not on a handful of important areas, but dozens of them.  It’s as if I took an ADHD approach to things, not because I couldn’t concentrate, but because I could.  My strength became my weakness. I can do a lot of things, but I have my limits. I can do only a few things real well, not everything.

So it comes down to priorities, I need to assign a value to a bit of information that comes my way and filter it to see if it relates to my main priorities.  If it doesn’t, it needs to go away.  I have to develop tunnel vision and just simply zero in on the things that are most important to me.

I’ll have to develop new habits and a sense of self-discipline that’s been absent my whole life.  But it felt so good to review my collection of stuff and to reduce it by 75%.  The remaining amount is now being acted upon and hopefully utilized in a useful way.

I know I’m not alone on this.  Many people, especially writers, don’t want to let go of an idea, a list, a resource, a stat, or a factoid.  Writers think about so much, in so many different ways, weighing probabilities and possibilities constantly.  We seek to balance fiction with reality, with the past and the future, and with all of the alternate paths our actions and thoughts take.

It starts with the baggage we collect.  We are packrats when it comes to our own thoughts and notes.  But we need to get out of our own way.  By pairing down our notes and focusing our energy, effots, and ideas on the few things that are truly valuable and important, we sacrifice a lot of things to get where we really want and need to be.

Don’t make a note of what I said.  I don’t want to burden you.  Just absorb it and then live it.  Take action on things.  Stop storing your life in piles of paper.  Just go out and live and move on the things most important to you.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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