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Posts Tagged ‘stress’

Welcome to Toolbox Saturday where you’ll find tools for various things from writing to whatever.

How often have you overspent on a “deal” that was guaranteed to help increase your income, but left you broke instead? How many times have you lacked the funds necessary to buy that eBook that could teach you ways to improve your marketing strategy?

If you’re like most Independent Authors, myself included, the times for either scenario are many. So what can you do to safe-guard against those ups and downs in your finances and take control of your spending?

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This blog, The Road to Writing, will be discontinued Dec. 31, 2011. If you would like to continue receiving great tips and inspirational posts please remember to subscribe to my new blog by RSS or email for LOL Mondays, Spirit Wednesdays and Toolbox Saturdays.

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If you’re a highly sensitive person like me, then you’ll understand how stressful marketing yourself, your product or your business can be. If you aren’t an HSP, then today’s marketing landscape with its hurry, scurry push in social media probably doesn’t bother you. You may, in fact, thrive on the pressure, the excitement. The downside to that is that mistakes can be made at a faster rate and be more challenging to correct.

It’s also true that HSPs will suffer more stress and anxiety if we jump into all of the things we’re told we should be doing before we take the time to fully plan where we want to end up or if we don’t pace ourselves the way we need to — at a slower rate than the rest of the world. Regardless of whether you’re thinking about blogging or using Twitter or Facebook or any other social media, as an HSP it is imperative to think it through and take your time.

I’m currently working my way through Kristen Lamb’s WE ARE NOT ALONE: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media, which I highly recommend, but I have to continuously remind myself that I am not in a race. As Kristen has pointed out in previous blog posts, writing is more of a marathon than a sprint. Building an author platform goes right along with that. I may not be able to fit in 15 minutes each for Facebook, Twitter and MySpace (or whatever other social media outlet I’ve chosen) everyday, but I can certainly spend that much time on one per day, blog at least once per week and still have time left to work on my “masterpiece”.

Jumping into anything before you’re truly ready, or even mostly ready, gives a higher possibility of failure. It also means a greater possibility of losing your passion to write altogether. Still, it’s very difficult to reign in our enthusiasm, especially if we’re newer to the process. As Jody Hedlund says in her post The Pressure To Jump In Too Soon, “It’s hard enough to have patience. Therefore, when we get involved in the cyber writing world, eventually, we might begin to feel left behind or the pressure to keep up with what others are doing—even if we’re right where we need to be.”

Jody suggests 5 things newer writers can do to keep those feelings of pressure to a minimum, which I think really speak to HSPs:

  1. Concentrate on your writing because that is what will sell.

  2. You can put aside the book you’ve written without editing it. Consider it a project to revisit later when you’ve had more experience.

  3. If your story isn’t working or you’ve lost the passion for a project, it’s okay to put it away unfinished.

  4. Take the time to try out other genres. You may find your best writing isn’t in the genre you thought it was.

  5. Most importantly, spend less time thinking about what everyone else is doing and more time being you. As an HSP you know you’re unique. Capitalize on it.

It’s not the popular choice to take the slow lane when trying to forge ahead in a writing career, but for highly sensitive people it can be the best way. What other ways have you discovered to keep your career moving ahead while maintaining the balance you need as an HSP?

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How often have you overspent on a “deal” that was guaranteed to help increase your income, but left you broke instead? How many times have you lacked the funds necessary to buy that eBook that could teach you ways to improve your marketing strategy? If you’re like most Independent Authors, myself included, the times for either scenario are many. So what can you do to safe-guard against those ups and downs in your finances and take control of your spending? Budget.

If your primary goal is to continue to improve yourself, whether that means your writing or how you market your product, having money allocated specifically to continued education assures you that the money is there when you need it without having to ask the dragon (aka credit cards) to fit the bill. Using a budget for those funds also forces us to think before we buy.

Michael Martine of RemarkaBlogger suggests in his post “The Most Important Question You Need to Stop Asking Yourself“* that you first set training goals, something specific like learning how to take advantage of social media to market your book, and then take a look at how you spent your “training” money in the past year. (If you’ve read The Money Book you’re a step ahead already.)

From there he tells us to set our quarterly budget by taking the amount we’re comfortable with spending over a year and dividing it by four. As Michael says setting a training budget helps us decide between what is a good buy and what would make us “the victim of others for their gain.”

What I really like about this approach is that, while we’re setting a spending limit, it’s based on past experience. As Simple Life in France puts it in “How to budget for inspiration not deprivation” by building a budget at the end of the month, or in this case upon last year’s spending, “your budget is just an honest friend here to tell you the truth about the way you spend your money. You’re making observations, not judgments.” As my mentor, FlyLady Marla Cilley, says, in order to improve ourselves we need to get rid of the “stinkin’ thinkin’.” That means not beating ourselves up each time we overspend, but rather making an effort to do better this month.

If you want to budget for your continued training, basing it upon last year’s spending and reviewing it at the end of each month can be a real stress reliever, especially when you can congratulate yourself for staying within your limits on The Road to Writing.

*This is a cached copy via Google. I was last able to access the RemarkaBlogger web site on June 29,2010, at 2:30 p.m.

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There’s a story I once read, one of those email stories that get forwarded multiple times, about a group of frogs.  Each frog is doing its best to race to the top of a high tower, but one by one they drop off as they begin to hear others declaring, “What pain!!! They’ll never make it!” One little frog, though, just keeps hopping. Higher and higher he climbs, until finally he reaches the top. Later one of the frogs who had dropped off asked the little frog his secret, to which he replies…

he is deaf.

I know another story, one I think most people are familiar with, about a little train that believed he could make it over an enormous hill. Turns out he was right. He could, and did, make it up and over that hill.

If you follow the line of thought from both of these stories you’ll begin to understand what it takes to be a successful Independent Author. In a world where consensus is the norm (and if you don’t think that’s true, then just watch what you do the next time you’re caught in a “highway swarm” as  Brian Ahearn of Influence People was), doing something that’s considered different is usually warned against — strongly. To be an Independent Author you have to be deaf to the “warnings.” I’ve found in most cases it’s best to just smile and nod, then move forward with your own plan.

Being an Independent Author takes a strong belief in your book, in what you have to offer, in you. There’s a lot of helpful information available to anyone who decides to self-publish, but it won’t do you any good if you self-doubt right along with it. While you won’t have to deal with a rejection letter from a traditional publisher and you will have complete control over every aspect of your book, those are only a few boulders removed from the giant hill an Independent Author must climb. The good news is that it can be climbed.

After you’re atop the self-publishing tower, after you’ve climbed the Independent Author hill, you can shout “I knew I could!” on The Road to Writing.

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For those of you out there who love to write, but suffer from migraines that get in the way, I have a possible solution (provided the headache was stress related to begin with). I’ve just come off a two and 1/2 day headache and discovered that my love of writing (and drinking several Cokes) can ease the pain tremendously!

I’ve been stressing over meeting the deadline I set to finish my book, Apprentice Cat. Needless to say, after spending a busy weekend with family and getting only my regular blog posting done, I’ve felt the pressure. Well, today I managed to spend a lot of time working and — voila! — the headache is almost completely gone!

As April Hamilton in her Publetariat post Writing Can Save Your Life; Let It wrote, “If you’re a writer, count yourself lucky. You have a crisis survival utility belt that rivals anything the caped crusader’s got.” Amen!

Pouring ourselves into our work is just one more way to be a healthier person on The Road to Writing.

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