I was chatting with an old friend the other day about writing and business. And we concluded to be successful both must have one key ingredient: focus.
Normally, that’s a word I would write only rarely because it’s usually BS. But in this case, I think it makes sense.
When a writer tries to do too much with a piece it’s rarely successful. Marketers who try to cram too much into a campaign invariably confuse their prospects and burn one of only a few chances to reach them. Businesses that try to do everything often end up doing nothing–and fail.
We’ve all sat in front of white boards full of priorities. It’s amazing they don’t fall off the wall they’re so loaded down.
Among all the green, red and blue ink there must be something that can drop off. But how many times have you come out of that kind of meeting with less to do? It’s a rarity. More often than not, the list grows longer.
But I guarantee that the successful companies find a way to get more results out of less. The same goes for writers. Economical writing (which might come at draft 15) is always better than lengthy bloviating. And it comes down to choices: “What to leave out, what to leave in,” as the great business savant Bob Seger once sang.
So, as you put pen to paper–whether to write the next great novel, a data sheet or an earth shattering business plan–think about what to leave out. And when you’re running your business, think just as hard about what you shouldn’t be doing as you do about what you are doing.