My response to a question from Lorna Kopp.
Lorna: Susan I slowed down to blogging once/week because I wanted more time for writing… and it has helped. But, I have a question – what do you do if you’re also helping people write their stories?(I blog about what I’m learning with writing/self-publishing as well as I’ve helped a few other people to self-publish their books too). Do you just keep blogging, 1x/week and then continue to write your books – or is there a better way to manage time? Appreciate your thoughts on this, because I’ve been struggling to get a grip on where my focus should be
Susan Kaye Quinn: It’s part of my Mission Statement to do this kind of work. And how you want to approach it will determine whether blogging is the best way to help, or possibly other things.
My idea of what best leverages my time to help other people (while being protective of my own writing time) is constantly evolving. Here’s my current thinking, but you’ll have to come up with your own ideas about how your unique skills can help others, how to best protect your writing time, and whether this is something you want to do at all.
SUE’S GUIDING THOUGHTS ON THE HELP-TYPE WORK
1 – PUT YOUR OWN OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST – My own writing has to come first because the best way I can help other people is to first, sell books and lead by example, and second, trial test strategies on my own books first before attempting to guide other people in what works.
2 – LEVERAGE YOUR TIME – this is why I wrote the books to begin with (BOOT CAMP, FLOM). I could have just left all that material on my blog, but by publishing books, I’m using the leveraging capacity of Amazon to reach more people.
3 – STAY PERSONAL – There’s a parable of two people walking down a beach with a thousand starfish, all stranded as the water has receded. One person picks one starfish up and throws it into the sea. The other says, “There’s too many of them. You’ll never make a difference.” The first person says, pointing to the starfish they rescued, “I made a difference to THAT one.” This is my approach, helping one person at a time, where I can. (I don’t let people pay for consults because I don’t want to turn “helping” into “business” – see #1).
4 – USE YOUR UNIQUE SKILLS – There are a few things I’m good at. One of them is bringing people together, connecting them in a positive way. I’m much better at that than, say, plumbing. So creating a group like For Love or Money, which enables a calm, helpful atmosphere where people can help each other, is something I do well – so I did. (Note: I’m rethinking that now as the group has grown larger than the small tribe I work best in. In fact, I’m thinking now of moving back to the blog-and-newsletter approach.) My reach is wide partly because I’ve helped a lot of starfish. This makes me happy, hopefully helps the starfish, and in the process, has enabled the creation of this space, leveraging my time even further. All to the win. That’s generally what happens when you look for how you can apply your unique skills, rather than duplicating things that other people have done.
As I said from the start, YOU need to decide how this all fits into your Mission Statement. It’s entirely legit to simply do #1 – your own books. You aren’t being selfish (particularly if you come back and share) – you’re being an example of how people can be successful in the world.
You can be a LIGHTHOUSE. Or you can be the TUGBOAT that helps guide ships through the fog. Both are good. The choice is yours.