An old saying is that “successful writers write,” which is easier said than done, once you get past the initial inspiration. The rest of the process is not as much fun.

It’s a lifestyle

Attending this workshop, I learned that successful writers have built a discipline for their writing. Here is what they do:

  • They carve out and commit to a regular space and time on their calendars
  • They define the process that works for them
  • They build goals and accountability into their process
  • They experiment to find the right process, space and time for themselves. It is not “one and done” but a continuous improvement cycle.

Realizing this is somewhat of a bummer! I just wanted inspiration to carry me forward as I put pearls of wisdom on a page. The reality is that inspiration comes and goes, and discipline is what gets the job done.   As a result, I need to approach this more like a part-time job than a hobby as I move into this next phase of my career.

It’s more than just writing

Successful writers have mastered the trifecta – writing the book, publishing the book, and promoting the book.   As hard as it is, writing the book is only part 1.   Deciding how to publish it, and then working with the publisher to make that happen, is part 2.   (It took me 6 months from having a draft of my book to getting it out with a publisher last year, which is quick according to a few authors.)

Part 3 is the hardest – promoting the book. For those of us who don’t like to participate in the social media world, this is tough, because that’s one big way in which books are sold. And making your book stand out against the thousands of others that hit the market at the same time seems to be a nearly impossible task.

When I think about what I learned about marketing with IBM, it is that building relationships and helping people solve problems is really the key to success. Sometimes this means selling your product, sometimes it means recommending something else. Always it means becoming a trusted resource for people, who can count on you to understand what they want to do and help them do it.

As a result, I’ve decided to let those principles guide me in the decisions I make about social media. I want the content to matter, and I don’t want to add to the glut of pap that is currently out there. In fact, I have a running argument with my publisher about what I should be tweeting — I have agreed to help them sell the books in their portfolio, however, there are some that I would not read and so don’t want to promote! We’ve not figured this out yet but are working on it.

Stay tuned for other “lessons learned” as I continue this new aspect of my career journey!

Cathy Perme is the co-owner of Perme & Peterson Associates, LLC.

Fizz by Cathy Perme

Buy Fizz! on Amazon

Buy FIZZ on Amazon Audio
Catherine Perme

Fizz! How to Succeed as an Independent Consultant author Cathy Perme also wrote Confucius in My Cubicle: Practical Wisdom for the Leader in All of Us, released by Wisdom Editions.