I like having options, but too many cause sensory overload. As
a writer, I'm bombarded with social media, blogs, and emails offering ways to
improve my writing.
At one point in my life, a close friend and I decided to
start a craft business. We would make and sell Christian Christmas ornaments.
It sounded like a plan, but then other items were added to an ever-growing
list. Why not make wreaths? And centerpieces? And gift items? The list of
supplies grew, and we hit the craft stores.
"Oh, look, at these cute cutouts. We could paint them
and add them to the ornaments." The selection, bargains, and ideas were
dizzying. We bought so much stuff that deciding what to use for a simple
ornament became a challenge.
Finally, we called a halt to the buying spree. "Let's
use what we have and get the finished products sold."
1. To enjoy looking
without making a buying decision.
2. To observe what
colors/items we truly liked.
3. To have a specific
project in mind before making a purchase.
Applying these lessons to writing educational opportunities wasn't
so easy. The Internet and hundreds of books, online courses, writers
conferences, etc. provide more resources than I could use in a lifetime. It's
enough to bring on a bad case of decision paralysis. Here's my process:
1. Slow down and take
a deep breath.
2. Pray and ask God
to direct you.
3. I narrow down the
choices to several reliable sources, look over the materials, and see if
anything jumps out at me. This can be either positive or negative.
Example 1: I went on
a free webinar which gave some good information. Of course, they were selling
an expensive course. I asked myself: If you do this, can you commit the time
and energy it requires to succeed? This is usually my primary concern with any
resource. My second question concerns the actual value of the course and
whether or not I could afford it. I've begun avoiding these so-called free
webinars because of the high pressure (offer good today only) and the expense
(only $1,000 even though it's worth $3,000).
Example 2: I heard
about a book on deep point of view. (For the non-writers, this relates to which
character's thoughts you get to see and their perspective on a situation.) The
resource was reasonably priced, covered a single topic, and didn't require the
next two years of my life. I learned a lot from that small volume. I also
discovered that I'm a nugget learner. A focused exploration of a single topic
helped me remember the lessons learned.
Writers and Readers:
Please share your experience with too many choices and how you narrowed
Photo Credit: Jean Scheljen