I’m a writer. I don’t think this because I believe myself to be terribly good at it, but because writing is what I naturally do with my thoughts. Most of what I write everyday is crap – inane and boring. It’s also usually weak and self-centered. My fragile ego is thankful that more than 90 percent of the words that leave my fingers are not viewed by others’ eyes.
But, once in a while, I am able to place 26 characters and a handful of symbols in some composition that actually means something – thoughts become tangible and alive. The words inspire emotional connection. You read them, and you breathe differently. The magic happens.
Something like that happened for me when I wrote this thing for ALIVE magazine on my friend Travis Sheridan.
When I curl up and write something like that, I have a visceral reaction. Nothing rational is at play. It is a lizard brain function. Some friends of mine who are great comedians describe this same reaction when they get laughs. It is a high.
Effectively, I write for the feeling produced by writing. It is not for fashion or because I think it is something cute. It is what I do to feel alive.
My good friend and fellow writer, Adam Kreitman, recently gave a presentation at an e4e meeting. Adam owns a company called Words that Click and is one of the most brilliant marketing minds that I know.
Adam spoke of his love of writing. He adores the exercise of putting words together. But when he would try to market his company, he would use a variety of tactics because…well, because that is what you are supposed to do. You speak, write, network, blog, tweet, advertise, give interviews to the media, create testimonial videos and design a website. You do all of it.
Here’s the problem: Adam doesn’t like most of it. Adam loves writing. The other stuff takes him too long to implement. It drains his energy, and he drags his feet getting it done.
After his own walk through marketing tactic hell (which Dante <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferno_(Dante)> neglected to include), Adam had this conclusion: What he was not willing to do was just as important as what he was willing to do.
Today, Adam writes to promote his company now. When he needs to speak somewhere, he carefully selects it and keeps the presentation brief. When he needs something designed, he gives the work to a designer. When he needs to create videos, he turns to a videographer. Adam owns what makes him click and lets others handle everything else. In doing so, he not only is able to devote more time to sales and clients, he is able to step into his strength. He gets to choose which challenges.
Because here is another truth: The difference between me and others who perhaps do not consider themselves writers is not an intelligence or even skill. It is that I love writing. I am willing to spend the time, walk through the fire on it and give life to the ten percent that is actually worthwhile.
Here is the lesson for you: stop doing all the marketing stuff.
There is most likely some marketing tactic or approach that you are best suited for. Perhaps you love the design aspect. Maybe speaking is what you really love to do. Or maybe you get a deep, human satisfaction in implementing a cause-based marketing plan. You should do that – more of it.
With everything else, stop. Hire a person whose true passion is that thing.
I know that this is old advice, but the marketing world is wrought with people who think they know and love marketing. Many believe that they are writers, photographers, social media gurus, public relations professionals and communicators in the broadest sense. You probably aren’t. And you don’t have to be. Instead, allow yourself the freedom to do what you love.