LISA TOWLES – More Joy, Please!
Helping other writers is my passion
Why? I didn’t have a lot of help in the early part of my writing journey, and so I feel driven to use what I’ve haphazardly learned to help other writers cultivate a better beginning to their journey – by showing them how to get help, feel supported, and stay inspired. One of the ways I do that is by writing and speaking about Writer Self Care.
Obviously, writing is what you love. Now it’s time to get serious about loving what you do.
How? Minimize what you don’t like to do as a means of building more JOY into your daily process. I’m specifically talking about writing, but this idea works in many contexts. So how do you do that? Start with self-reflection.
For this part, we need to get off the treadmill, so to speak, long enough to gain a perspective on what we’re doing. Take an afternoon off from writing or a day or two to rest your hands, rest your brain, and create some space to assess and recalibrate.
Which parts of your writing life and process bring you the most happiness and satisfaction? Research?
And which parts do you dread because they drain your life force? Editing? Marketing? Promotion and outreach?
Let’s dig into this a bit because I have good news: there’s a way around the pain. I know what you’re thinking, though. You’re a writer, so that means you’re gritty, and you’re accustomed to pushing through obstacles. That’s a good thing. But you might also be wasting a lot of time and creative energy agonizing about what you don’t want to do, finding ways to procrastinate, and ultimately not meeting your writing goals.
Here’s a solution: Outsourcing.
Outsourcing is an old concept primarily based on supply chain engineering and the economics of leveraging available resources. The aim is efficiency and cost-savings (and there are many definitions of “costs”). The vast benefits include reducing the size of your to-do list, leveraging specialists who have expertise in the areas you need, and saving you time.
Another benefit I’ve discovered is that the feeling of having people on my writing/publishing “team” helps me feel more supported, more empowered, and less alone.
I hired a graphic designer to design a book cover for me, and now she’s designed a few social media ads that are sized correctly for each platform (Facebook, Instagram, etc.).
In preparation for my forthcoming book release, I’d been searching for someone to help me with social media – not so much posting, but more like ad placement, targeting, and trafficking. So through a marketing friend, I found a social media manager who’s been helping me with Facebook and Instagram ads and advising me on hashtag strategies, audience targeting, and timing. It feels so wonderful to have a grownup sitting at the table with me to help coordinate and manage the parts of the process I’m not good at, and I’ve learned so much from her.
Where to get help:
- Fiverr.com – design ads, help with a book launch, SEO, digital marketing, Goodreads listopia lists
- Freeup – Virtual assistants for help with a variety of tasks
- See a list of freelancer websites here: https://www.websiterating.com/productivity/best-fiverr-alternatives/
For the parts of the writing and publishing process that you dread, maybe there’s someone who finds joy in those specific tasks. And maybe the work they do for you will help bring refinement and visibility to their skills. And by getting support for these things, you’ll be freeing up more of your time and mental energy for the things you love doing most (more joy).
If you’re traditionally published, your publisher or agent might have resources available for you to consult with or a list of trusted vendors you can hire to perform the work for you.
How do you decide whether to outsource or not? You might want to create a mailing list and start publishing monthly email newsletters. Consider why you need this resource, whether this feels like the right time for it, how hard it would be to learn it yourself, and how much you’re willing to pay a freelancer to do it for you. The upcoming Sisters in Crime NorCal workshop on October 16th will include an author panel on developing author newsletters featuring bestselling authors MM Chouinard and Gigi Pandian. Click here to register.
Most people think of the writer’s journey as being very solitary. But as I’ve grown as a writer, I’m realizing that writing is a team sport, and the process works better that way – for you and for the team that’s supporting your success.
One of the most important symbols of self-care is saying no. And outsourcing some of your most unpleasant tasks is a compassionate way to maintain boundaries, prioritize your mental wellness, and keep yourself pumped up for what you want to do most – create!
To learn more about Writer Self Care, check out this blog post: https://digitalraconteur.wordpress.com/2021/08/01/self-care-for-writers/
And to stay updated on my book and writing news, you can subscribe to my email newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/hFmk8P.
Till next time,
Lisa Towles is the author of the award-winning crime novels Choke and The Unseen. Her 7th novel, Ninety-Five, will be released in November of 2021. Learn more about Ninety-Five and read a sample here: https://www.indiesunited.net/ninety-five.
Love this post! Love the resources for hiring help. You really are a person who loves to help others, and I’m very lucky to know you. You inspire me!
I couldn’t agree more to taking a break. In a few days, the creativity switch turns to go. Thanks for this encouraging, informative article.
Great advice, Lisa! I’m looking forward to learning more from you at the SinC workshop tomorrow.
Wow, how enlightening. I hate marketing and putting things on social media drives me crazy. I have created three different websites, which I can’t even find now and I’m trying to open something up with Amazon publishing without success. I feel like such a dummy. What you’ve written in this blog will hopefully help, if I can afford it.
Joseph, I’m right there with you.
Lisa I’m blessed to have you on my team! Good advice and excellent recommendations. Thanks! And to you too George for your wonderful, informative blog. I’ve “met” many new authors and learn something new every post.
Delightful post! So encouraging to know there are people like this out there.
Thank you so much for not making us feel like we have to do it all and, if we can’t, we’re failing. Marketing and social media are my nemesis. I spend way too much time trying to figure them out (unsuccessfully, I might add) when I’d rather be writing.
I thought I had to do it all. Learn every new platform and gimmick. You’re so right, Lisa. I’ve used fiverr and had 4 out of 5 good experiences. Maybe if funds were low you could barter for someone else’s work. Good writing advice.
Excellent point about bartering. I’m finding that we’re all good at something that someone else isn’t. Thank you for reading and for your kind comment. 🙂
We need more successful writers like Lisa–upbeat, knowledgeable, and willing to help.
Thank you for reading, Julie, and appreciate your kind comment. Best wishes, Lisa
Thanks, Lisa. I found this one very interesting and full of good advice. You’re right, writing is a lonely profession and it’s nice to find people like yourself who’ve gone through the school of hard knocks and are willing to help others. Thanks and best of luck to you.
Thank you Michael, lovely to meet you! 🙂