Danger … "Shiny Objects" Ahead!

Today, I want to talk about shiny objects and how they’ll hold back your freelance career if you let them.

Shiny objects are tips, tricks, or techniques that distract you from your main path. They make you think there might be a better, faster way to succeed.

When I started my journey to the writer’s life, I was plagued by indecision. I couldn’t figure out which direction I wanted to go or which route would give me the best payout in the shortest time.

Shiny objects constantly tempted me.

I would choose one direction only to hear about a better, faster one the next day. I would start learning about that, but in no time, I’d hear about something else that seemed even better.

It was a frustrating struggle that left me with a mess of training programs and bookmarked articles, but no progress. No matter how fast I learned, it felt like I would never know enough.

Finally, I heard about FOCUS (follow one course until successful), and I decided to come up with a plan – and stick to it.

I joined Circle of Success and met with Rebecca Matter. She helped me come up with a plan, and I didn’t look back.

I put away the programs and started ignoring the emails that didn’t support my focused path.

Filtering out the temptations to stray from my path is one thing that allows me to live the writer’s life.

Here’s how you can start avoiding shiny objects today:

First, decide on your path.

To make it really simple, pick an AWAI course. They come with step-by-step directions. It doesn’t matter which one as long as it’s something you’re excited about doing. Then make a commitment to finish that course and take action on what you learn.

Once you’ve made that commitment, it won’t be easy to stick to it. You’re likely to hear about all kinds of other paths and programs.

If you find yourself unable to commit and constantly chasing one method after another, but not making any real progress, take stock:

What happened with my last method? Did I follow through or abandon it? Why?

If you still think your last method is worth pursuing, don’t move on until you follow through. File away the new method for later.

If you still want to move forward on the new method, ask yourself:

Is this method essential to my success or another reason for me to procrastinate?

Essential would be contacting clients. Nonessential would be signing up for the newest social media site. Then ask:

What proof do I have that this method is better than my last method?

If it’s not better – or you have no way to know if it’s better – proceed with caution. Don’t try stuff just for the sake of trying it. Make sure you have concrete evidence that this is the way to go and that you will see results with this method.

Then, no matter which method you choose, make a commitment to see it through.

Going through this process has helped keep me on a path where I’m making progress instead of chasing after the newest thing.

I’ve found the key to achieving the writer’s life is staying focused and avoiding the pitfall of shiny objects.

Looking back, I realize my fascination with new programs was just an excuse to procrastinate. But along the way, I did find a few shortcuts that work and will get anyone to the writer’s life faster.

So how about you? Tell us if shiny objects distract you or if you have found a way to overcome them.

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Published: October 8, 2012

13 Responses to “Danger..."Shiny Objects" Ahead!”

  1. My my, Christina. You have REALLY hit a nerve - and a home run - on this Columbus Day.

    I've also been a victim of shiny objects. In my case, I prefer to call it "constructive avoidance." I'm not exactly wasting my time, but I'm also not achieving my goals, either. I mean, doing SOMETHING is better than doing nothing...right? Or so I told myself...

    Said even a different way: we're active, but we're not productive. And only FOCUS leads to production. Hope we meet at Bootcamp 2012. Great work!

    RNin2013October 8, 2012 at 8:38 am

  2. Yes, that is me to the tee. Thank you Christina. I needed this. I have finally chossen one I believe fits what I want to do. Finished the course and now I need to put it into action.

    wvcopywriterOctober 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm

  3. Hi Christine - shiny objects? my nest is filled with them! - so much so that there is no more room. Time to clean house! get clear! get focused - interestingly enough, I took Nick Usborne's course - How to Love Marketing Your Freelance Business and chose for my message - CLARITY --- makes me smile to think that one is drawn to what one most needs to learn! Thank you for the inspiration and the reminder to act and to do one thing at a time!

    KellieOctober 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm

  4. I heard a quote by Charlie tremendous Jones about how to make a decision that went something like this:

    "Make it. Don’t wait until you can make the right decision. Make a decision and then make it right."

    Sean McCoolOctober 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm

  5. Spent my bday last yr. @ Boot Camp and have YET to define a niche that feels good. Won't be there this yr. but closing in on the clarity of your words. JUST DO IT; DO SOMETHING. I have almost every program offered; got stuck in Headlines and here I sit. The rest of the world can do this; reasonably bright, so...is it the fear of failure or the fear of success? My world is full of reasons/excuses...told I'm should be a writer...when I was 15 so I've wasted almost 50 years...if not now, when? Thanks for the insights!

    Guest (Karen G Sorkin)October 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm

  6. For someone whose office has become an amazon full of shiny objects I appreciate the timely post. My situation is that I ultimately want to write, sell, and perhaps produce my own screenplays. However, I'd like to make a living in copywriting while pursuing the dream, but I'm lost as to what niche I should be in. Is there money in a creative copy niche? Any and all feedback is appreciated.

    Guest (Rahck)October 8, 2012 at 8:27 pm

  7. Hi Christina,

    Shiny objects are a part for my life. Yikes! Thanks for the nudge to remind that I need to FOCUS and make something truly happen for me in my chosen niche.

    Guest (Tasia)October 9, 2012 at 5:01 am

  8. At AWAI , we live in the land of shiny objects. Christina, thank you for this article and its underlying wisdom.

    In my experience there are at least 2 ways to deal with them:
    - file appropriately
    - reflect

    "To thine own self be true" ( Will S) is perhaps the hardest advice given; but the filing of shiny objects is a great clue.

    Colin NodenOctober 9, 2012 at 11:05 am

  9. Shiny Objects are my weakness. I'm a collector, so it's no wonder.

    One easy way to reduce temptation is to regularly unsubscribe from email lists that distract you. Don't worry, you can always re-enlist if you wan to start getting their offers again!

    Guest (Netbrainer)October 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm

  10. Thank you, Christina.
    You have helped me make a difficult decision that I've been mulling over for several day.
    I like the FOCUS and have placed it on my computer desktop to remind me and keep me in line.
    Steve Maurer Maurer Copywriting

    Steve MaurerOctober 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

  11. Hi Christina,

    Very very true on my part. I have already bought 3 AWAI programs and have not taken action in any of them. It's like getting excited about the program and after reading - I develop this fear and doubt inside me. Then I start asking myself if the program is really for me.

    My other shiny objects are different books from the library that "I think" can help me. But instead divert my thoughts and focus.

    I will now have a different FOCUS and stick to it. Thank you.

    Chu BOctober 10, 2012 at 4:50 am

  12. Wow, Cristina! Nail on the head! I have no sooner decided on one AWAI Course than along comes another that seems even more up my street. Worse, it seems you can't become a successful writer without a website, you can't become a good autoresponder writer unless you first acquire a thorough knowledge of copywriting in general! Then along comes Cause Writing! I've bought several and completed none! Paralysis of indecision! Ok, it's decision time! I'm opting for Cause writing. And I'm going to apply the FOCUS acronym - Follow One Course Until Successful! I know that Success Builds on Itself - so today is the day I make my first vital steps towards that ultimate success. Many, many thanks. BillMIGHTS

    Guest (Bill)October 10, 2012 at 5:57 am

  13. Shiny Objects.....my beast of burden! I, like all those that have preceded my response, have put it totally into perspective. Just do it and don't look back

    Guest (Mick )December 4, 2012 at 4:17 pm

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