How to Decide What to Publish When You're Writing the Bigger Story

You’ve been writing. The thoughts are flowing into the journal or popping forth in Evernote-ready snippets. There’s so much excitement around these emerging ideas, but there’s frustration too. How to protect that private garden of  possibility seedling handsBrilliant as the initial flashes of inspiration have been, these new concepts aren’t ready for prime time. You just want to keep up the momentum and ensure that the seeds continue to fall on fertile ground.

And yet there are days when it’s hard to sustain this private garden of possibility. You've got a broader vision and you’re impatient sometimes. Every time you expose yourself to social media's digital torrent of “content” you feel a little more stressed, a little more worried that you’ll be left behind.

“Everyone” is writing and pushing out content constantly - or so it seems. You’re already drowning in information and you’re sure that your ideal reader is overwhelmed too.

You’re caught between the trust in your process and your need to leave some footprints on the digital trail before it's too late.

Whenever that is.

Do You Need to Carry “Publish or Perish” Stress?

Once upon a time, I remember nodding my seventeen year-old head as a worldly college senior talked about the personal attention you’d receive from the faculty at their itty bitty liberal arts school.

With pride, he told our tour group that this place wasn’t “publish or perish.”

I still envision a flock of wizened academic buzzards picking at the bones of the young assistant professors who didn’t grace the pages of some obscure literary journal only read by fourteen other people in the field.

Back then, I dreamed of a life in academia, so I was a little spooked by this early lesson in survival of the fittest. Then I left that world and eventually made my way to entrepreneurship - the proverbial out of the frying pan into the fire, right?

Only You Know What You Must Write

The writer in you deserves to escape pen, publish, publicizeDid you leave a career track full of obligations to start your own creative business adventure only to find that you were prey to countless experts with a new universe of what you “should” do?

At the top of the list is “do content marketing.” It’s a beautiful concept - educate, entertain, and inspire rather than advertise in order to win a community of prospective customers. But the reality is that you start to feel like you’re in a perpetual race to publish to the blog (and to Facebook and to LinkedIn, and…) or perish in obscurity.

This “gotta pen, produce, and publicize” drive is a distraction and downer for anyone, but it is even worse if you find yourself enjoying unprecedented - yet unpublishable - productivity.

Truth is, neither the content marketing imperative or the people who try to sell you easy ways to blog understand what's truly important to your story - especially if you’re filling notebooks with ideas in progress.

You're the only one who can put your bigger dreams above the short term gains of feeding the hungry online content beast.

You Have Choices. But First Acknowledge You Have No Choice

There’s one thing you have no choice about: You must keep writing.

This inspiration that propels you into each day and keeps you up late at night is a gift and your success and growth needs you to protect and cultivate these powers.

what to publish when writing the bigger storyBut then, you have 4 choices about how to approach publishing and your platform when you're working on the bigger story:

  • Write even more: Keep doing what you’re doing in the journal in in the smartphone notes, but then dedicate more time to writing simpler, audience-ready posts based on what you already know.It may be hard to detangle your existing stock of knowledge from the emerging insights, but spend some time developing beginner’s mind and going back to basics. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to create content in response to your clients’ questions. Dare to make it easy and accessible. This is what people need when they’re first getting to know you. Think of it as preparing to blow their minds when your magnum opus is ready
  • Work the discovery writing in a more deliberate way: Trust the process. Love the process. Live the process. Keep writing into those ideas! But also appreciate your desire to get these out of the thinking stage and onto the page in a structured way that opens your work to the people who need your work. Find a mastermind partner or learn more about the Message Discovery and Development Process.
  • Chill out and explore: Buck the "productivity at all cost" trend and simply allow. Use your online platform in a way that nurtures but does not distract you. If that means taking a social media hiatus, I promise you that everyone will still be here when you return.

If you want to make more time for your own writing and still immerse yourself in what leading thinkers in business, creativity, and progressive leadership are saying, please subscribe to the weekly Sovereign Standard.