Today, I want to talk about shiny objects and how they’ll hold back your freelance career if you let them.

Shiny objects are tips, tricks, or techniques that distract you from your main path. They make you think there might be a better, faster way to succeed.

When I started my journey to the writer’s life, I was plagued by indecision. I couldn’t figure out which direction I wanted to go or which route would give me the best payout in the shortest time.

Shiny objects constantly tempted me.

I would choose one direction only to hear about a better, faster one the next day. I would start learning about that, but in no time, I’d hear about something else that seemed even better.

It was a frustrating struggle that left me with a mess of training programs and bookmarked articles, but no progress. No matter how fast I learned, it felt like I would never know enough.

Finally, I heard about FOCUS (follow one course until successful), and I decided to come up with a plan – and stick to it.

I joined AWAI’s Circle of Success and met with Rebecca Matter. She helped me come up with a plan, and I didn’t look back.

I put away the programs and started ignoring the emails that didn’t support my focused path.

Filtering out the temptations to stray from my path is one thing that allows me to live the writer’s life.

Here’s how you can start avoiding shiny objects today:

First, decide on your path.

To make it really simple, pick an AWAI course. They come with step-by-step directions. It doesn’t matter which one as long as it’s something you’re excited about doing. Then make a commitment to finish that course and take action on what you learn.

Once you’ve made that commitment, it won’t be easy to stick to it. You’re likely to hear about all kinds of other paths and programs.

If you find yourself unable to commit and constantly chasing one method after another, but not making any real progress, take stock:

What happened with my last method? Did I follow through or abandon it? Why?

If you still think your last method is worth pursuing, don’t move on until you follow through. File away the new method for later.

If you still want to move forward on the new method, ask yourself:

Is this method essential to my success or another reason for me to procrastinate?

Essential would be contacting clients. Nonessential would be signing up for the newest social media site. Then ask:

What proof do I have that this method is better than my last method?

If it’s not better – or you have no way to know if it’s better – proceed with caution. Don’t try stuff just for the sake of trying it. Make sure you have concrete evidence that this is the way to go and that you will see results with this method.

Then, no matter which method you choose, make a commitment to see it through.

Going through this process has helped keep me on a path where I’m making progress instead of chasing after the newest thing.

I’ve found the key to achieving the writer’s life is staying focused and avoiding the pitfall of shiny objects.

Looking back, I realize my fascination with new programs was just an excuse to procrastinate. But along the way, I did find a few shortcuts that work and will get anyone to the writer’s life faster. (I’ll share them in next week’s article.)

So how about you? Do shiny objects distract you or have you found a way to overcome them?