I read a quote from Henry David Thoreau this morning… “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”
It struck a chord with me.
By my own measures — what I had hoped to gain from living the freelance writer’s life — I’ve been successful. I’ve earned the income I hoped to earn. I’ve (usually) spent 25 to 30 hours a week working and have had the time to do things like homeschool my kids through the sixth grade and write a novel or two.
That’s what I set out to do, and I achieved it.
But in a lot of ways, I’m unsatisfied with my success. Not that I’m ungrateful. That isn’t it at all. It’s just that the way I planned for my success to unfold… it didn’t happen that way.
In reality, it was a bit haphazard.
And when I read that quote, I realized that was it. That was why.
I had gotten busy doing the work that led to my success, jumping on the opportunities that came my way… too busy to control every facet of my forward motion.
And, you know, that’s all right.
I still have big dreams about specific business models and clients, marketing campaigns, and project types. And I’ll pursue those. But I’ll continue to jump on the opportunities that show up at my door, even if they aren’t a perfect match for the vision I have in my head… because so often those opportunities open up new doors and even inform the shape of my dreams.
Building a successful writer’s life is very much about doing the work. Dreaming is wonderful and I highly recommend it.
But in between dreaming, you have to roll up your sleeves and do the work in front of you.
It’s when you get busy doing the work that things start to fall into place.
In the comments, tell us about your dreams and the work you need to do to build them.
New on the Site
Have you ever felt like an imposter? Even told yourself that you’re struggling with imposter syndrome? What if what’s really going on is something else entirely… Tim Geiger explores what’s really happening when most writers think they have imposter syndrome and shares his tips for avoiding this trap.
Whenever you set a big dream for yourself, encountering roadblocks and setbacks is all but a given. It’s how you deal with those roadblocks that matters. Do you let them hold you back? Or do you weave them into your journey? Suzanna Fitzgerald shares some of the roadblocks she’s encountered and how she’s gone about changing them into stepping-stones on her path to success.
Sometimes the years when you experience the biggest setbacks end up being the ones where you make the biggest gains. Holly Rhoton shares her big challenges and big wins in 2020, including her own experience with being brave and vulnerable, and how that combination pays off.
Self-sabotage is common… especially after a setback. But if you know what to watch out for and have positive rituals in place, you can avoid self-sabotage and move forward after a setback. Valeria Collier-Vick shares her own experiences with setbacks, self-sabotage, and moving forward.
Mark Your Calendar
November 19: There’s been a big change in the works at Google for a while now, but it’s about to “get real” in March 2021. It’s a change that could have dire consequences for your web clients if they don’t know how to prepare for it. Fortunately, after this live session with Pam Foster, you’ll know exactly how to help your clients protect themselves. Join us!
Around the Web
A bit of cautionary advice about top 10 lists and how to do them well… if you choose to do them at all.
There’s a high — really high — chance you aren’t charging enough for your services. Ed Gandia explains why it’s time to start quoting higher.
There’s a lot that goes into running a business. This list of free resources can definitely make some of those tasks easier.
If you have an overwhelming task list, here are some new ideas on getting rid of the overwhelm.
That’s all for now. Make it a great week!