There are no guarantees. Just because something worked for the other guy does not mean it will work for you. When you fail during your attempt at new marketing method or a different writing routine, it's makes sense that you'd become frustrated or cynical. The truth of the matter is this. The people who fail the highest number of times also tend to have more successful projects than everybody else.
I've always been a creature of habit. I remember having to see a school counselor in second grade because I had difficulty dealing with schedule changes. When I find a way of doing things, whether it be exercising at a certain time or cooking particular meals, I want to lock down that method as long as I possibly can. It's the way that I'm wired. About six years ago, I might a slight change to my programming that has made all the difference on my creativity.
In 2007, I was in a rut. I wasn't writing. I was barely doing any art at all. I worked at a coffee shop in the morning, napped when I got home and watched TV or took an improv class at night. That was every day for me. I wasn't happy about the routine I'd settled into, so I started looking for help. Help came in the form of a website, Steve Pavlina's Personal Development for Smart People.
Steve was a bit of a loon. He still is. But something I admired about him was how he tested out changes for his life. He tried polyphasic sleep, a method of sleeping in which you stay awake about 21 hours per day with naps disbursed every few hours. He experimented with different tactics for devising and achieving his goals. There were raw food diets, software hacks, personality alterations and more; all of which were documented on his website. Some of his 30-day life trials appealed to me. Others didn't. I made a decision.
I began to look for new ways to do things. I sought out changes to the way I ate, exercised, wrote, spoke, loved and related to people. If I found a method that seemed better than the way I was currently doing something, I would adopt it immediately and wholeheartedly. One of the first changes I made was to take all negativity (within reason) out of my speech and thoughts. I stopped being self-deprecating, I didn't make fun of other people and I cut out blaming everybody but myself for my own circumstances.
Even this first change was frightening, as several people I called friends started to create distance between us. They didn't want any part in my self-improvement process. It was either me or them. I considered going back on my new life direction, until I realized that these people weren't part of my path forward. I pressed on.
Years later, I've tried on several dozen life changes like suits at a Men's Wearhouse. The ones I've kept, like this blog, have made a significant impact on my life. The changes I've let slip, such as my efforts to run five days a week and train for races, were dropped for legitimate reasons. I never would have self-published my first book if it wasn't for being open to change. I also never would have lost a ton of money trying to produce a web series. You take the good, you take the bad, but you grow either way.
The world adapts too quickly not to change a little with it. You need to try new things because otherwise you'll get left behind. If you're an author, look to see what the most successful and innovative authors are doing to sell their books. If you keep up with the latest experiments in self-publishing, you can apply changes as soon as you find out that they work. These methods won't always be successful for you, but at least you will have made an effort. Someday, you'll even devise your own way of doing things. You'll be the first to try something, and because of your willingness to adapt, everyone will end up copying you and your success.
It starts with a simple change. Become more open. Commit to trying new things. What's the worst that can happen? Reliving the same cycle over and over again? It's time to shake things up.
Done with Trying New Things? Go back to Motivation Techniques.
Use the above prompts or article as inspiration to write a story or other short piece.