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Information Overload - Help!!!

If you’re a new writer, or even someone who has published a few books and know the ropes of self-publishing, chances are, you've come across a dreadful number of websites, blogs, vlogs, and – you name it, on writing and how to market your work. And, somehow, with every piece of advice, course, or tip offered – each sounded better and more enticing than the former.

Let me ask, how many people do you follow? (hopefully, me!) Are you one who prefers to get a plethora of information, and from that pool of knowledge, select what makes sense and what’s helpful to you? Or, do you follow specific subject matter experts, tracking advice and information they offer? Let me be clear, I believe that there is nothing such as too much information, or knowledge, there's always a lot to learn, especially for entrepreneurs and self-starters like, us!

But, when information seems to jump out at you from every nook and cranny, it can be overwhelming. And, we can’t ignore, with the self-publishing boom, there are twice as many people, or groups that are willing to offer advice and services to new authors in exchange for our followership. When there is an influx of information, there comes a point where this useful information gets glossed over; all of the messages seem to sound the same, can you relate?

I have followed quite a few authors and bloggers over the years, and I found that my inbox was being over ran by lots of messages – redundant at times, I simply didn’t have time to read them all.

Well, you get the picture. One day, I decided to be proactive and take charge of my in-box and scaled down on the number of people I subscribed to – this was so hard, because to be quite honest, they each had something unique to offer. So, I managed to make my selection by asking myself these question: 1. How is this person contributing to my growth as a writer? Do they share pertinent information that can help advance my career? Or, are they just a repeat of every other writer-blogger? 2. Can I relate to this person? And, yes, this is important! Hear me out – a lot of new writers tend to beat themselves up over not being as productive as other writers. They get frustrated because it seems like every other writer is doing so well and pushing out so much content, and they’re still, stuck, half way through book number two! To this I say, find someone who you are in tuned with. It’s good to follow writers with high goals, like publishing a book a month! But, sometimes, this can be a distraction from your own goals – which my simply be, just finishing the book you’re working on. Remember, everyone works at different paces, we have different life circumstances that may limit us to work during very specific hours. Some of us have all day to write, some are free and single; no kids or spouse, while others are juggling full time jobs as parents and writers. My advice would be to find authors who are in a similar situation as you are and use them as inspirations to continue producing your best work.

I know some of you are saying, well isn’t a bit of competition a good thing? Shouldn’t we always push ourselves and compare our performance to the best. Sure, when you compare yourself to someone with similar circumstances and goals! If you write non-fiction and produce books with a team of two or three people with the end product being, let’s say, a 150-page book; one each month, that’s fantastic! Being able to co-write is an exciting experience and the work gets done, maybe in half the time? Compare this to if you write literature, or historical fiction. Books in these genres tend to be around 300 pages and more. Fiction (across all sub-genres) require in-depth character creation, creating conflict between characters, and a vivid description of the setting in order to draw in readers. The genre and type of story you’re telling can determine how many books you produce – one a month versus, one a year! Please fellow writers, think about these facts before beating yourselves up for not writing fast enough! Okay, I had a lot to say about that, which brings me to point number, 3. What type of information does the blogger offer? Do they cover a wide variety of information on writing? Are they usually the first to tell you about new tools and techniques that’ll make your writing journey smoother? At least, these were the things I considered before trimming my list, and I have to say, it was one of the best decisions I made.

While I believe there is no such thing as too much information, there is such a thing as information overload – too much information, from too many sources at once! I believe it can make writing more productive if you keep a few select tools to do the job – of course, upgrading is always an option too! But, seriously, compare this to baking a cake from scratch, you have the fundamental ingredients; flour, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla extract and baking soda. You can always add milk, cream, fruits or even some candy to the batter. However, if you add more to the cake than is necessary, then, chances are, you’ll ruin it! (trust me, I’ve tried the cake thing before!)

Moral of the story, keep it simple and use key information that works for you! Again, some of you may disagree, but that’s fine, I’m glad you kept reading up until this point!

Well, I believe that’s about all I have to say on this topic. I hope you were able to find this piece valuable – try it out and let me know how it works for you! Until next time – keep writing!