Happy Sunday, pal! Even if you're reading this on a Tuesday, or even worse, a Wednesday, I want you to pretend like it's Sunday. Because on Sundays, you get to wear pajamas all day long and no one can judge you.
Lately, I've been thinking a LOT. I've been running thoughts through this brain of mine, mainly about one specific thing: what is my why? (Also known as purpose. Not to be confused with porpoise. What?)
Allow me to elaborate. When I first started this blog, it was centered around my publishing journey. I had a very limited idea of what advice I might be able to give, because I was so new to the writing game.
At some point down the line, I started actually knowing what I was talking about. I am by no means an expert in the literary world, but I have ideas and experience under my belt. (Just kidding. I don't wear belts.) So, this blog has morphed a little more.
When I look at the heart of why I write this blog or why I write books, everything falls back to the same core values. You ready for a list? Here's why I write (anything) (anytime):
- to connect with people
That's your list, my friend. I started this blog to connect with future readers. Now, I write this blog to connect with writers and help make their journeys a little brighter and simpler.
The same thing goes for writing my books. I want to connect with people about all the crazy and exciting experiences that life has to offer. I also want to cry over our favorite book boyfriends while we eat ice cream together.
The Problem With The Internet
Okay, I'm stepping down from my soapbox ever so slightly. Don't forget to remember your writing why. Like that sentence? Pure poetry, I know.
Here's the issue we're faced with every single day: there is an overwhelming amount of information out there. Don't believe me? Just hop on Pinterest and experience the overwhelm for yourself.
I am so guilty of this. I'm constantly searching for the next Podcast, the next blog, the next Youtube channel to fill my brain with MORE info. My mind is a cross between a hamster wheel and the tornado from the Wizard of Oz. Minus the munchkins.
Why is this such a bad thing? Another list. Here we go:
- Creation vs. Consumption. You've heard this, right? You should create more than you consume. (So they say.)
- We're recycling ideas. This isn't necessarily bad and is bound to happen. However...
- We're losing our unique voice. Even when we are recycling ideas, we need to maintain our own spin on them. Because, if not...
- We become a mix of people/brands, and we don't make sense. You can't be Stephen King and John Green and George R.R. Martin all at the same time. So, spend your energy on something better.
How to Find Your Why
So how do we block out the noise? How do we stay true and consistent to our author brand, to ourselves, while still following along with our favorite authors/blogs?
Write it down
We need to make a commitment to who we are as writers. It doesn't help to keep all of our idea marbles bouncing around in our heads. Here are some tips:
- Word association. Write a series of words that define you and the image you want to portray. For me, it's "fun" and "inspirational." When you're finished, circle the ones that are most important to you.
- A manifesto. Make it official! Write yourself a manifesto about who you are and what you want.
- A bio. Pretend you're submitting your book to a major publisher or you're pitching your blog to a prestigious magazine. Write what you do in a paragraph or a few sentences.
Stick to your guns
And by guns, I mean, your core values. Even as your brand expands and shifts, you have to stay true to what your essence. How? With this list, of course!
- The three question test. When you get a new idea, make sure you test it. Ask yourself these questions:
- Does this align with who I am as a writer/blogger/creator?
- Does this idea further my brand?
- Does this idea help my readers/audience?
- Let it breathe. Don't act on a new idea immediately. Give it time before you act.
- Refer to your manifesto. Make sure you keep your writing displayed somewhere close to you and refer back to it often.
Ask your readers
Sometimes, it's hard to gauge what people like the most about us. In these circumstances, it's okay to ask for help. Your audience is your greatest asset!
- Send a survey. Use a provider like SurveyMonkey or Typeform to send questions to your audience.
- Ask them they're favorite and least favorite aspects of your brand. Maybe it's time to clean house. Trim away the things that are not helping your cause.
- Get them involved. Ask what they'd like to see from you in the future.
And there you have it! This post really helped me to refocus my brand, and I hope it helps you too.
Discussion time: What's your why? How can you refocus your brand?