What gets measured gets managed. Peter Drucker said that. Drucker was brilliant about getting things done and that one quote has been coming back to me a lot over the last few months.
Unless you’re new here, you’ve heard this before. Three years ago I gave up my corporate job to write novels.
Writing stories, let alone making a living from them is a harder gig than I bargained for, so I started freelance marketing on the side to avoid being thrown into the street to starve. I would write novels in the morning and freelance in the afternoon.
Making these two things balance was harder than I thought.
I panicked, grabbed any work that came along, undervalued what I did and let my priorities slip. I punched significant gaps in my writing schedule and defeated the purpose of leaving my day job in the first place. This could not continue, so I took time out in December to reassess.
I read, talked things through with family, friends, and other writers and marketers. I realised that in business terms I lacked products, goals, and planning.
- I had no novels or clearly defined freelance marketing services to sell
- I had no goals for what I wanted to achieve with those products
- I had no plan on how to reach those goals.
For the first 3 weeks of January, I fixed the goals and planning parts, but unmeasured goals have a habit of slipping, especially when I’m the only one looking at them.
Writing and freelancing is a solitary pursuit. This has advantages.
- No commute
- Cups for tea that Derek from accounts hasn’t licked when no one else was looking – you dirty bastard Derek.
- And most recently justification to get a new dog.
One of the downsides is lack of accountability. It’s too easy to let goals slip or get written off when the only person you’re explaining it to is yourself. Public accountability occurred to me but it was a ballsy move I wasn’t ready for but seeing someone else do it clicked it all into place.
This also solves my ‘what the fuck do I blog about?’ problem.
Every day I’ll work on tasks from a plan towards completing one of the six 2019 goals. Then I’m going to tell you about it in a blog post. Some days will be a joyous exploration into the discovery of a new skill. Others will be caps locked swear fests aimed at anything getting in my way. Sometimes that thing getting in the way will be me.
It’s late, I’m tired, and I have a lot to do tomorrow.