In the Next-Level Writer series, we talked about plans and goals.
When we set out with a goal and make a plan to methodically move toward that goal, we see what it takes. We understand the investment involved.
That’s when we measure the ROI of a particular task or activity using not only our deepest values, which we looked at in Part 2 of A Writer’s Guide to ROI, but also our goals.
Weigh Your Goals
Let’s say your goal is to complete the manuscript of a novel by the end of summer, but on a whim you commit to a one-month daily photography challenge on social media.
The challenge is a lot of fun and provides a creative boost as you break away from your work-in-progress to edit and post an image.
Is that creative boost worth it?
The challenge starts to distract you from your writing goal as you invest more time in photography than in writing the novel.
You have to decide.
Do you change your goals and alter your plan to accommodate an activity?
Consider your ROI.
You Can Change Course for Greater ROI
If the photography challenge keeps you from meeting that end-of-summer goal, should you continue with the challenge and change your deadline, or focus entirely on the writing?
As you pour creative energy into the photography, you may have less available to invest in the writing.
But you might gain so many new followers, it’s worth it, because you might never have met them if you hadn’t taken on the challenge.
What’s the greater ROI?
Consider your goals. What’s more important? What’s needed first?
That will help you determine the best investment of your time, creative energy, and personal resources.
Measure Your ROI
You can measure the return on investment based on what you’d like to see.
In part one in A Writer’s Guide to ROI, Crystal Paine decided activities were worth her time if they made her money or brought in more people or helped her serve her audience better.
You could try other measurements:
- Word count
- Email signups
- Visitors to your website
- Readers of a particular article
- Engagement and likes on a social media update
- New followers or friends on social media
- Sales of a book or product
- Downloads of a free item
- Downloads of a podcast episode
- Completing a work-in-progress
- Relationships with people in the industry (agents, editors, publishers, other writers)
You can see from this list how specific activities lead to certain measurements.
There are other elements that are so important but much harder to measure, like emotional returns. It’s hard to track those, but you can try. Track them daily using a scale of 1 to 10 to determine where you’re at each day or at the completion of each activity.
You can decide how you feel or what you’ve gained in such areas as:
- Happiness or joy
- Creative satisfaction
- Emotional energy
- Improved writing skills
Is It Worth It for Me?
Is it worth it for me to post on social media at my current rate or more often?
Is it worth it to produce a weekly podcast?
Is it worth it to send out an email newsletter?
Is it worth it to quietly work on books that won’t be available for over a year, maybe two?
For me, the answer is yes. Yes to all of that and more.
When I calculate my ROI—which is ultimately based on my goals and values—the time I spend on the writing and writing-related activities brings in new relationships as I
- help more people,
- gain new opportunities to speak and write, and
- develop ideas I can use in other ways.
I’m having fun along the way, and I satisfy my curiosity by exploring new questions that arise and new topics of interest.
Is It Worth It for You?
I could continue to list the results I gain—the returns on my investment—but the big question is this:
Is it worth it for you?
How about your writing projects and your writing-related activities you’re committed to…are they worth it? Are you gaining a satisfactory return on investment?
Look at your values, your goals, and the time and resources you’re pouring into it all.
Measure what you can and reach a conclusion.
Only you can measure and determine the ROI of any task, activity, project, or event.
Only you can answer that question: Is it worth it?
- A Writer’s Guide to ROI series
- Next-Level Writer series
- Write to Discover series
- All podcast episodes
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