So here we are. It’s that time of year when everyone is working on resolutions, a brand new set of goals.
Undoubtedly, most New Years resolutions involve money — making more, saving more, spending wisely, etc.
Isn’t it odd that so many of us make resolutions to have more money in our pockets right after we have just splurged hundreds or thousands of dollars on gifts that no one really needed?
If the goal was to have more money then we would’ve saved ourselves the trouble of going into debt over a bunch of boxes under a fake tree.
Despite what we say, money isn’t the goal for most of us.
The truth is, money isn’t the goal for most of us, despite what we might say. It’s not the end of the line.
It’s not like we have a trip-plan that starts where we currently are and ends at a place on the map called “money”.
You don’t really care about money. What you care about is the experiences money can help provide.
If you could have those same experiences without money, money wouldn’t matter at all.
What if we could pay our way into Disney Land with a story? Then you wouldn’t need or want the money. You would want a story to tell, an experience.
After sharing your story and gaining entrance to Disney Land you would leave with a lot of great memories, an experience, a story.
Last Year’s Mistakes
Last year I wrote a few books. I’d just learned about self publishing, and being a writer, I fell in love with it.
I wrote my first book and was surprised with how well it did. It didn’t hit the best seller list or anything like that, but it has continued to sell a hundred copies or more each month.
Naturally, I decided to write more books.
The first book was consistently bringing in a hundred bucks or so each month, so I thought two or three would be even better.
With the intent of creating a book to sell a hundred copies or so each month, I started writing.
The second book didn’t do too well. It was on a different topic though, so I decided to write a third on the same topic as the first book. Again I set out to create a book that would sell a hundred copies or so each month.
The third book’s sales, like the second book’s, just didn’t measure up to the sales of my first book.
What was going on? I couldn’t figure out why the first book was doing better than the other two combined.
With the first I spent almost no money. I paid for minor editing but that was it. With the other two books I spent much more. I hired a good editor, had a designer make covers for them.
I had spent much more time and money on the second and third books, yet they didn’t sell nearly as well.
This problem confused me for months. But I finally figured out the difference. I learned why the first book does so much better than the others.
The One Thing that Made All the Difference
When I first learned that I could write a book and publish it as an independent author I was ecstatic.
I’d wanted to write a book on the topic for so long, but I thought I would have to go the traditional route, which I wasn’t going to do.
I didn’t (and still don’t) care about agents, getting a book deal or anything that goes along with it. I just wanted to write the book and publish it for those who needed to read it.
I had experience that I knew could be helpful to others and I wanted to get it out there.
I’m not saying I never thought about money or sales when I writing it, because I did.
I thought about how great it would be if Oprah heard of my book, mentioned it on her show and I become a famous writer with millions of fans and even more money. But, that wasn’t the goal.
When I started writing that first book my goal was…to write the book. That’s it.
With my second and third books the goal was money, plain and simple.
Sure I wrote about stuff I wanted to talk about, things I found interesting, things I knew about. But I wasn’t passionate about the journey of writing the damn things.
I only had one thing on my mind: making money.
It is impossible to create art that others will love, or information that people truly need when you aren’t thinking of those things.
If you are thinking only of money then you can’t possibly address the wants and needs of others in any real way.
I’m not saying that you should never think about money. That would be impossible. What I’m saying is this:
Too often we focus on the wrong things. We set goals for things like money when we should really be thinking of the experiences that lead us to the goals.
In other words, it’s the journey, not the destination that’s important.
The reason my second and third books did so poorly is because I was focused on the destination (sales, money) instead of the journey.
Had I been thinking of how much fun I was going to have while writing those books, the readers enjoying them, and the people learning from them, then I would’ve produced a much better book which would’ve sold more copies and made me more money.
The first book I wrote was fun. I had a great time writing it. I wrote it in a bout a week, with almost no problems at all.
The second and third were grueling because I wasn’t passionate about writing them, I was passionate about making money from them.
The first book sells, the others don’t. I think that’s proof enough that if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing no one else will either.
This is a good mindset to have in all areas of life, but especially if you are a writer. Don’t set goals strictly for things or money.
Set your goals based on the journey.
If you want sell a million copies of your next book then set goals for things like word counts, the kind of research you want to do and who you want to help. You will be much happier and your outcomes will be much better.
What Kind of Journey do You Hope to Have this Year?