Stop Being Free.

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Last year I planned to stop being nice. I’m gonna admit, I’m doing a pretty okay job at it. Not being so nice translates to an amazing sense of personal power. Maybe a slightly precarious sense of power, but I’m trying it on none the less.

This year I’m going to stop being free.

No, it isn’t what you think. Keep reading.

I’m glad this year’s version of the question is different. The difference is in the final words: higher payoff activities. I like this. I like this because my goals in the year ahead are actually (finally) about business as unusual. This last year has been about bailing out and balancing my boat. About re-sculpting my inner sphere (although, let’s be honest – that is a plodding and perpetual journey). The year ahead, the year ahead is about translating everything bopping around within myself into business as unusual. With a focus on the business.
This year ahead is (and it feels so fun to be honest and out loud about it!) to focus on translating what I currently do for fun into something that can supplant part of my currently earned income at my job-job. I’m not as concerned about the income part, but about the time part. There is only so much of it, and I want to be intentional about how I fill it.
Because, I need to stop doing more in order to focus on what I really want to be doing.
And that means I need to stop being free. I’ve been writing for free, and taking on projects without compensation, for a few years. Not all of them, but those in new areas for me. Because I needed to get to know people here. Because I needed a little portfolio. Because I needed to earn my own confidence before selling myself as someone who writes things. Free was great when I had extra time. Free was great when I was just getting established. Free was a great way to scatter a lot of seeds and find out which ones germinate.
Free is a bit like a wish. Free has hesitation. Free does not establish my value, to myself – and to the world.
But that free time is over.
It’s time to start thinking of myself as a freelance writer – and using that parlance to enact some power toward my future goals. It’s time to start using that language. It’s time to transition to getting paid for the words I put on the page.
That’s part of the big plan to make this farm-writing-creative life something more sustainable for my energy and my livelihood. There’s a lot more to that plan, but the first step is to stop piling on new things that don’t route my precious ship in the exact direction I want to be blowing.

Tuesday’s Quest2016 nudge is from John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, a marketing consultant, speaker and author of books like Duct Tape Marketing.

What can you stop doing in 2016 such that it would allow you to focus on higher payoff activities?