As an indie author, you’re going to find yourself wearing many hats! At times it can become overwhelming and difficult to motivate yourself to do those jobs that are the least interesting to you, be that bookkeeping, social media, marketing or emails. So, how do you avoid the overwhelm?
Avoiding the Overwhelm - For Indie Children’s Authors
It’s a busy job being an indie author, I know this only too well, and sometimes I feel like I’m being pulled in all different directions. From keeping up with social media, writing, managing my current book projects, keeping on top of messages and emails, to managing Amazon ads. Then there’s the whole being a mum of two, trying to keep fit, make sure everyone eats healthy, walking the dog. The list goes on, and sometimes it’s hard not to feel like it’s all a bit too much.
I have run out of steam a few times, especially post-book launches. When I’ve thrown everything into getting the book out there but still have a to-do list as long as my arm. It’s not a great feeling – and it always takes me a few weeks to get back on track and find the love for writing and publishing again. Does all this sound familiar? I think most of us indie authors have been there at one time or another.
So… what’s the solution?
I’ve heard the answer to this is to set yourself some clearly defined goals… can it really be that simple?
Until now, I’ve always just kept this in my head. I guess the trouble with that is, that you can change your mind, easily go off track and waste time on things that aren’t that important.
Well, I’m going to try and give this whole goal-setting thing a go – care to join me?
I’m going to start by defining my ‘vision’, working out where I want to be, and by when.
So here goes… I’m going in big… I want to be financially independent by the end of 2024. This means I want to be able to live 100% off the earnings from my book sales and work as an author. No pressure!
Your vision may be different to mine – perhaps you just want to publish that book! Maybe you’ve got your eye on a top position in the book charts, or a prestigious award? Or it might be the same goal, but with a different time frame? Have a think and write it down.
All your goals should then lead to that vision, so I’m going to use my old favourite, smart goal setting which, from my previous corporate life, I know works really well.
Smart goal setting – what is it?
Smart goal setting means ensuring your goals are:
· Specific – make sure your goal is very clear
· Measurable – consider how you will measure it?
· Achievable – consider your time and resources – make sure it can be done!
· Relevant – make sure it aligns with your vision
· Time-based – commit to a deadline to keep yourself focused.
Let’s break those down just a little –
If you make your goal specific, it gives you better direction and focus, and therefore more likely to be accomplished. Using the five “W” questions will help you to decide on the goal. These are:
1. Who – Who is involved in this goal?
2. What – What do I want to accomplish?
3. Where – Where is this goal to be achieved?
4. When – When do I want to achieve this goal?
5. Why – Why do I want to achieve this goal?
You must be able to measure your progress. If you don’t have criteria to see your progress against, you won’t be able to know if you are on track to reach your goal. You can use these questions to help you with this:
1. How many/much?
2. How do I know if I’ve reached my goal?
3. What is my indicator of progress?
If your goal isn’t achievable, it will probably only demoralise you. Make sure it’s attainable at a little bit of a stretch.
You could ask yourself:
1. Do you have the required resources and abilities to make it happen? What am I missing?
2. Have other people been successful and been able to achieve this? How?
If you think, perhaps, you need more time for achieving the goal, you can always adjust it or break it down into smaller goals. Maybe give yourself a little longer, or a smaller measurable quantity within the original time frame.
If your goal isn’t relevant to your vision, then there is no reason for you to be using your valuable time and resources to achieve it. Asking yourself:
1. How will this goal help me achieve my vision?
2. Is this goal the best one to push me forward toward my vision?
Giving yourself a start and finish date for your goals will help you to remain focused and motivated. Have a think about:
1. When do you want to achieve the goal by?
2. Will that deadline be possible?
3. Does this give me my deadline?
I’m going to have a proper think about my goals – and will share them in due course. Let me know what your goals are too! Let’s share them and make ourselves accountable!