I watched and waited for Sunday to come for more than a week. Temperatures were forecast in the 60s (it reached 69 sunny degrees – yippee for me!). Majority daylight hours were to be spent building a cold frame (or three).
That greenhouse in my kitchen was starting to get in the way (the office HVAC unit failed – my intended seed start residence), plus fledgling plants were getting leggy (too few grow lights). I needed to get all this outdoors.
As I delved into the cold frame project (figuring two hours to completion bliss), plans proved remiss. My new power tools were on the ready (wimpy 18 volt batteries compared to my 19.2V farm stalwarts – pre-drilling screw holes – really?). Most of my time, however, was spent prepping DIY dumb stuff done to recently removed windows and moving bricks from my chosen spot. In the end, I was six inches short on the last board (didn’t plan that one out well either), and had to postpone completion for another day.
Good writing brings the same sorts of challenges. If you fail to plan steps for success, it takes more time. Not to worry – reorganizing to set a proper stage can still net fantastic results – if you’re able to recognize your err.
Of course, I tend to build like I cook – winging it. Tasting, surveying and adding (or fixing) as I go along usually works for a masterpiece satisfaction moment – until it doesn’t. I learned to use screws a long time ago (they’re a lot easier to back out than nails), plus have become a bit careful about adding things like curry, garlic or wine to food without tasting along the way.
My writing approach isn’t so different.
Usually, once I’ve done a construction project, I get quick and handy about future similar tasks (the first is usually a do-over). Composing copy – at least with me – is never right the first time. That’s why they invented editing. BUT, I’m quick to realize and easily implement effective approaches for desired results.
Curiously, it’s a lot easier (and quicker) for me to write for another than it is to craft messages for my own businesses. I suppose that’s true for most – we’re too close to our own stuff. It’s a lot easier to see a smart solution with a bit of distance.
You can save yourself a lot of time if you think through the strategic before you embark on the creative. This is particularly relevant with writing.
Think about your ideal audience. What troubles them? Is there a language style that appeals more effectively than your chosen mode? Are those most expressive buying what you sell (don’t modify an approach that’s working with customers to mollify the chatty crew only seeking your freebies). How can you spur more readers to want to have what you offer?
I suppose that’s why I prefer to experiment than follow a path proven by another. There’s something spiritual that comes from discovering a new answer that makes a strategy unique and memorable – and yours.
Mostly, I do things differently (some would call it wrong). It works for me. How do you let your voice (written, oral, visual) work for you?
What can you creatively construct for learning?
Oh – and the cold frame – it’s almost done at half the time and cost projected by an expert on This Old House. Is it as perfect? Nope. Not even square (but nothing is in this 1930 built farm house, so it will fit in just fine). It’s my handiwork and will serve my needs.
I’ll enjoy it a lot more for the learning experience it provided and the pride of it coming from my own hands.
Will I pay a skilled contractor to do it right the next time? Probably. I’ll do so, though, with a much deeper knowledge of what’s involved (and a newfound appreciation for skill sets). Plus, I know now I can handle the rest if they don’t show up to finish the job (don’t get it, it seems once beer money is earned . . .).
There’s great value in trying to work through a problem before you decide to hire another for help – particularly when it comes to writing tasks (everyone can write – that last letter to Aunt Mabel was brilliant). You gain a better understanding of the challenging issues or important details necessary to ensure what you want to say is understood. Plus, once you’ve done it, you can better appreciate what’s involved.
Take the first shot at your writing masterpiece. Then, give me a call at (540) 400-7106 (or send an e-mail) when you realize a second set of eyes can help. Or, maybe you’ve decided a talented delegate resource can improve your quality of life. Why not focus limited time on things you find more satisfying and lucrative?
Life should be fun – especially for business owners. Isn’t that why we took the leap in the first place? What are you doing to ensure that early excitement stays with you?