Spread Too Thin

I had a pretty big epiphany the other day regarding the way I work every day. Namely, how I seem to always be working but never getting closer to my goals or accomplishing much of anything at all.

I don’t know if it was not drinking for a few days or being flat broke once again, but it hit me as I was getting ready for bed that I’m only putting about 50% effort into my two main goals and not putting 100% into anything at all.

When I worked with my amazing and wonderful business coach, I gave her two “long-term” goals for my dream work life.

  1. I work 50% of the time with content and strategy clients that I love and the other 50% of the time is spent pursuing creative/journalistic writing opportunities.
  2. My income is $70,000 a year and I’ve paid off my car and credit cards by the time I’m 30.

When I had two long term clients at once, with a healthy amount of work and income, it was easy to maintain that 50/50 split between writer dreams and business dreams. It felt like I was making fine progress towards both of those goals.

But now that things have shifted with my client work, I’ve spent about a month trying to get some momentum on the business side of things but I wasn’t getting anywhere. At the end of every day, I had some major task I’d “run out of time” for or otherwise avoided.

I just felt stressed, exhausted, insecure and overwhelmed every day.

When I had the epiphany, I realized it was because when I’m in the pitching and inquiry phases of both business and writing dreams, I’m just stuck in the fear and imposter syndrome all day, every day.

I wasn’t focusing on either thing long enough to get a momentum or make any real progress because my motivation and willpower was split.

What I had finally realized was that I can’t devote 50% of my work day to writing goals when I’m not making a living. It’s not sustainable and it’s not conducive to me getting anything creative accomplished.

I’d been ballsy in asking around about tips for pitching companies and how to get the gigs without turning into an utter slime ball from some of my absolute biggest role models on the internet. They gave me amazing advice, but I realized that the only cure of making this work wasn’t phrasing the emails just so or picking the right time of day to send a pitch, it was actually just doing the work consistently.

I knew the same thing was true about any writing gigs I’ve had my eye on. There was no way I was going to be as successful as I hoped to be if I wasn’t devoting serious time and energy to developing queries and getting them out the door.

The reality is that I can’t get both of those things moving at the same time. It’s like trying to push two shopping carts or swings at once. Not going anywhere fast.

So, what I’m going to do is this:

  • Focus 100% on my business dreams until June 30.
  • Limit writing to a before/after “office hours” pursuit, with a focus on reading and writing to develop my voice and work through some of my blocks.
  • Check in via this blog every week to give an update on how all of my goals are going and what I’ve been working on.
  • Publish an almost TMI report once a month on what goals (both professional and personal) I hit, which ones I didn’t and what’s working/what’s not.
  • I’ll also probably start sharing tools and resources that work for me via an email newsletter of some kind or a Patreon feed, but I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

I don’t know if any of this will be useful to you, but hopefully it will be.

This isn’t to say that I’m giving up on being a writer. I’m still journaling daily, writing for this blog daily, reading daily. Eventually I’ll start submitting pieces to publications for consideration, but I want to take it easy and focus 100% of my “office hours” on my business for the next few months.