Why I Miss Paper
For the past decade, my career has been largely in print publishing in some way or another. I’ve worked at a daily newspaper, monthly and weekly magazines. Having moved to online content publishing, there’s one thing I dearly miss — a good, old-fashioned deadline. If you have to get an entire newspaper to a printing press at midnight, it gets done.
Nowadays (when was the last time you heard someone say ‘nowadays’?) the Internet sits there with its gaping maw, willing to take anything you throw at it and publish it to the entire world instantly.
This often creates two undesirable results:
- Bad content – unedited, poorly thought out, rambling, boring just thrown up onto the screen at a click of a button.
- Content Procrastination and Paralysis (CPP)
With regard to #2, how long have you been thinking that you’d like to publish your own eBook? Or how long have you been sitting on that newsletter or blog post? Exactly. The deadline for Internet content is every minute of every day. It is entirely up to us, and CPP sets in because we always think we’ll have more time, tomorrow.
The Cure for Content Procrastination & Paralysis
I have for the last six months, assumed that eventually I would write an ebook, whenever I was finished with my current clients’ projects. Well, surprise surprise, it didn’t write itself! It’s slightly embarrassing as someone who helps clients develop ebooks that I was slacking on my own projects! Then last week, Gary Barnes, a business coach I’m privileged to work with, asked me to pick a date that my ebook (in outline form) could be done and ready to ship. I gulped. I picked a date two weeks away. The combination of a hard deadline and someone holding me accountable has lit the proverbial fire under my ass!
So on February 16th, the world will meet my new eBook:
Creating eBooks that Create Fans: The Sticky eBooks Kickstart Kit
If you’d like to be on the launch list and receive the first two chapters for free, please join my email list.
Now, how you can get your own eBook out of your brain and into the world!
5 Steps to Getting It Done
- Pick a date that feels terrifying. If you pick a date three months from now, you’ll wait until the last week to get started. It’s human nature — we let the urgent crowd out the important. By picking a scary-soon deadline, your eBook (or any content project) becomes urgent and important and gets it on the top of your to do list.
- Pick a reward. Don’t resist this! You think that finishing the project will be a reward in itself (and it will feel good) but for each milestone along the way plan to treat yourself. When I’m done with this eBook, I’m booking a plane ticket for a trip to California that I’ve been saying I’d take for a long time. Even smaller rewards and breaks along the way can get you over the temptation of little distractions.
- Pick an accountability system. You know yourself best, is it enough to announce it on your blog? Tell a trusted friend who will check on your progress? Ask friends in a forum you’re part of to help keep you on track with regular check-ins? I find this is when hiring a coach is especially valuable.
- Pick times to focus. I am writing first thing in the morning after I get up, before I get sucked into replying to email or reading blogs, et cetera. If possible, disconnect your Internet. Get a program like WriteRoom (for Mac) that obscures everything else on your computer. Lock out the kids and cats; don’t answer your phone. Even if it’s just half an hour you’ll get a lot done.
- Jump in! Something else to watch for is “analysis paralysis” — worrying so much about how to do something that you don’t actually do it. The hardest part of the whole thing is starting. Just do it and it will sort itself out as you go. You can always edit, rearrange, change things. Just get moving with the words onto the page and you’ve won half the battle already.
Want instant accountability? Leave a comment here with your due date and let me know if you want follow up from me.