Have you ever found yourself feeling frustrated with your writing progress, even though you’re putting in the time and effort? Or maybe you’ve set writing goals, but struggled to make consistent progress towards them. If so, you’re not alone.
Over the last several years, I’ve gone up and down in weight, and in the last month I’ve gotten back to the gym again and really paying attention to what I eat, not just what I do while working out.
The first time I lost a substantial amount of weight in my mid-thirties, I exercised at least five days per week for 1-2 hours a session, and eventually used a tracking app to calorie count on my phone.
After about a year (or really, sooner) I had lost an accumulated 45 lbs and maintained that weight for a long time. But eventually I eased up, went to the gym less often, wasn’t tracking what I ate anymore and I would eat if I was hungry, stopped paying attention to the portions, ate until I felt full, and eventually I found I had gained like 20 lbs back.
Then of course the pandemic happened and we were in lockdown for longer than many other places on the planet, so of course I fell off the wagon with regard to cooking sometimes now just to pass time, not getting anywhere near the amount of exercise I used to, but continuing to eat as though I was.
You can’t go by your feelings — they lie
It was a bit insidious because I was still fitting into the clothes I had shrunk down into, and when we started going back out in the wild post-pandemic, people who hadn’t seen me in a few years would still mention I had lost weight since they last saw me. However, they didn’t know that I had backslidden and had actually lost even more weight than I currently showed for it.
I knew I had given up ground I previously gained, even if I wasn’t as heavy as I used to be.
In 2023 I found I had gained enough weight to the point I was now equal with the heaviest I had ever gotten before that original weight loss journey, and decided to revamp my life again a month before the new year. I hadn’t been going 5 days per week again, just 3, and it wasn’t until a few weeks ago I started logging my food in a fitness app and I realized…
I can’t argue with data.
Neither can you, dear writers and authors.
You see, I can “feel” or think I’ve accomplished something just because my emotions about it are strong. I may think I’m doing more than I am, or less than I really am, but I can’t go by that.
I could THINK I’ve not gained weight because of my feelings on the matter, but as soon as I step on the scale I can see for myself whatever the truth is.
The scales don’t lie!
My belt buckle no longer reaching the way it did previously can’t be argued with feelings or arguments.
It speaks the truth with no bias.
There’s a point I’m building to with regard to writing, don’t worry.
The same applies to society and the word of God. You may be giving into a besetting sin over and over to the point your conscience gets seared and you are no longer bothered by something like you used to be. But the standard is the Word of God, no matter how you or I feel about something.
The majority of society may accept something and celebrate it despite what the Word of God has always declared on that subject, and it doesn’t matter — it’s still sin. Period.
When I’m working with writing clients of mine, publishing and launching their books, especially if it’s their first one, I’m no longer amazed how often we all tend to get overly optimistic about how easy we think it will be to get early reviews for a book on Amazon — heck, reviews at all, let alone early ones.
Going the Way of Least Resistance FEELS Best
It’s inconvenient and awkward to ask people for a huge favor such as taking 5-10 hours of their life to read our book (depending on how long it is) when they have other things going on, or other books they’d rather read when they have the chance.
What if they read it and don’t like it or give a negative review to something we’ve spent a long time working on?
Look, I get it.
When I’ve done appointment setting and outbound sales in recent months (my sales journey is another story for another article), I would keep track of how many people I’d message or called each day/week, and use that as my gauge as to how much prospecting I was doing, and how much more I needed to hit my KPIs.
I quickly learned if I wanted to get paid, I needed to sow a lot of asks out there into the ether. Then, maybe 30% would respond favorably, and of that another 30% of those respondents would book a call, and of those who showed for their calls, only a certain % would actually buy.
It’s the funnel.
The top of the funnel has a lot of the prospects, but if I want the number coming out the bottom tube of that funnel, where the sale actually takes place, then I needed to throw a LOT of prospects into the hopper at the top of that funnel.
Otherwise, nothing comes out the bottom.
The same happens when you want favors from people like getting reviews.
EVERY single writing or book coaching client I’ve had, minus one, has used the same system I’ve used in sales to keep track of those they’ve asked or reached out to for reviews, and the majority of them underestimate how many people they’ll need to ask (top of the funnel), and assume everyone they ask is going to follow through without understanding the sales funnel concept.
You Have Not, Because You Ask Not
I had one author tell me “nobody’s responding when I ask if they’ll leave a review!” Another one told me “none of the people who said they would read it have left a review yet”.
Each time I then ask “how many people have you asked?”
The author told me he had only asked eight people.
I told him if he wanted to get 8 reviews total, then to ask at least 100 more people. And to ask them personally, not just sending out an email blast, no matter how large his email list.
Personally asking people, specifically those who might be an ideal reader or who are the target audience.
Of course, my personal coaching and guidance when an author works with me will help them figure out who in their sphere of influence to ask so they don’t just “scattershot” their ask by going to social media and assuming anybody who breathes oxygen is an ideal reader, or waste their time asking a lot of the wrong people in their life.
Which is the mistake a lot of authors, especially newbies make: assuming more people are interested in reading their book than really are. And to make matters worse, they give up way too easily.
You can’t go by your feelings. You may feel like you’re not gaining weight, or not overeating, or not letting up on the exercise, but eventually the results and the scales speak for themselves.
You may feel the sting of rejection from asking people and hearing no or not getting a response, but try detaching yourself from the emotion of it and just document your efforts and see what progress you’re making with it.
I had a particularly bad morning or few hours calling warm leads for my appointment setting job. I felt like “everyone” was hanging up on me if they picked up, and while I wasn’t ready to quit or take a break or whine about it to other setters or my manager, I was feeling like it was a bad day.
When I logged into the stats for my account on that company’s dialer, I could see I had only been making dials for less than an hour. My talk time and numbers dialed was quite low. But if I let my emotions guide me, I could have sworn it was like 10X the number of rejected calls.
I couldn’t argue with the data, despite however I was feeling.
Getting reviewers for your book(s) is the same — if you’re not asking people, you will get the corresponding results. If you’re selling a lot of copies of your book, then you’ll start to see the reviews trickle in as a result, but I’m talking about asking for that initial launch.
We must face the numbers and data in order to truly understand our progress.
The simple solution: keep track of who you ask, what their response was (if there was one), and make the list super long.
Emotions can cloud our judgment and lead us astray, making us think we’re doing better or worse than we really are.