Sunday, October 11, 2020

Why I Don't Follow Some Common Advice

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Do you follow every bit of advice from others? I don't and if I did I would be chasing after every new and shining object that comes into my mailbox or email box. In this article, I want to address a common bit of advice that I've heard then tell you about how I handle this area and other advice.

In blogs and books, I often read, “Don't read your email first thing. Focus on your main priority first and decide to read your email on designated times throughout the day.” Statistics have shown most of us check our email at least 85 times a day which admittedly is excessive. I've learned the importance of responding with short emails which gives the receiver a response but maybe not a lot of detail. If an email requires a longer response, I've learned not to immediately send it but to wait a bit then re-read it to make sure it s complete.
I don't follow this advice about not reading my email because these emails are the lifeblood of publishing. It's where I get work. It's where I communicate with editors. It's where I get my contracts from my colleagues at Morgan James Publishing which I send on to authors. It's where I receive signed contracts from authors. There are many other bits of information that come through my email. I've learned to process it quickly.
Another bit of advice I see regularly is about social media. “Use a timer when you log on to Facebook or LinkedIn or _____ and begin reading. Otherwise you can waste hours.” I see the truth in this statement but again it is something I do not practice or follow (using a timer). Instead I am keenly aware of the traps of social media and how you can waste lots of time on it. My social media time is limited. Admittedly I do not see every post from every person. My time on social media is focused and with a point.
As writers, each of us have a careful balancing act called life. We juggle work and family and fun (yes we make time for fun). We have longterm and short term projects. I network with others and I am moving forward with my current book writing project at the same time I am looking for looking for long-term work, answering email and returning phone calls. The list is endless but these are some of the elements and give you the idea. I also have interruptions and unexpected things that spring into my schedule.
In a recent how-to writing book I read, reviewed and promoted, the author called out Amazon as evil. I understand many booksellers and publishers do not like the controlling dominance of Amazon but I respectfully disagree with this author. Amazon is not evil. This company is a huge player in the publishing industry and requires some of our attention at writers. 
My principle point in this article is each of us have to find our own path. My path within publishing and life will be different from your path. I can learn from you and you can learn from me. I hope I've given you some ideas in this article. 
What common advice do you not follow? Let me know in the comments below.

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