I participated in the challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November for National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo.

And I met that goal of 50,000 words! I wanted to share with you how my first year of participating in NaNoWriMo went, how I had to rearrange my schedule (and my life!) to be able to complete this challenge, how I planned ahead, and some of the other things I did to be able to write 50,000 words of a novel.

My fellow business-ownin friends Megan Flatt of Let’s Collective and Focus Sessions, and Stacy Spensley of Semi-Crunchy Mama also participated in NaNoWriMo, and they’re here with me to discuss their experiences as well.

In this episode, we go over seven (7) marketing and business lessons the three of us learned from NaNoWriMo.

Read the full transcript

Meg Casebolt 0:01
You’re listening to social slowdown a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. Social media is a double edged sword. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected. But it also can feel like an addictive obligation. And it’s even more complex for businesses, your audience might be right there, but you’ve got to fight with algorithms to maybe be seen by them. So whether you want to abandon social media altogether, or you just want to take a month off, it’s possible to have a thriving business without being dependent on social media. This podcast is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lipsync send a cold DMS, run ads or be available 24/7. Let’s get started.

Hey, there, friends, it’s Meg Casebolt. I am here for the last week of November with our episode of social slowdown. And I wanted to make this one a little less preachy, and a little bit more fun since we’re coming back from a holiday weekend. And we’re kind of easing back into work. And so I decided what I was going to do is talk about some marketing lessons that I learned in the month of November from doing a challenge called NaNoWriMo. Now, if you’re not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. And it is a challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November. So in the 30 days of November, you want to write 50,000 words, that comes out to about 16 or 1700 words a day. Now, this was my first year doing National Novel Writing Month, and I did actually complete the challenge of writing 50,000 words over the course of the month. So yay, very proud of myself for that. And I wanted to kind of come up with some ideas of what I learned from how I needed to rearrange my schedule and rearrange my life and plan ahead and some of those activities that I did for writing a novel that could carry over into my business and into our marketing. Now I also had two friends of mine who we agreed to all do NaNoWriMo together, and they are also business owners. So these friends of mine are Meghan flat from let’s collective, you’ve heard her in two previous podcast episodes. She also runs focus sessions, which helps us with virtual co working. And we’re also doing the this challenge with our mutual friend, Stacy Spence Lee from semi crunching mama, she has a parenting coach. And so we’re all kind of going into this process with different ideas of what we wanted our novels to be, and different commitments that we had going on in our lives and different time that we have were able to write until I reached out to these two friends of mine who have been sort of my accountability buddies through this challenge. And I said, Listen, I’m thinking about doing this podcast, what? What applicable lessons do you have? What have you learn from this process that would make sense to share with this audience? We started brainstorming in our regular Voxer channel. And then as we were brainstorming, this was you know, two o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon, I said, Hey, do you guys just want to hop on the podcast with me, I think that would be more fun than me just talking about this. So what I’m about to share with you is a very loose conversation. That’s basically just, you know, a conversation between two of my dearest friends about how our fiction writing has given us ideas that are applicable to our businesses and to our marketing. I’m gonna really quickly run through what those seven ideas are the seven marketing and business lessons that the three of us learned from NaNoWriMo. So if you just want to listen to this part and skip the rest, that’s cool. Or if you want to hear us giggle, then that’s fine. But I also do want to let you know that this was kind of an impromptu conversation. We are interrupted by kids, you know, I had a kid sick home from school, Stacy has kids home all the time, the school called me in the middle of it. So it was a little bit chaotic, want to warn you about that beforehand. But it is a really fun, you know, enjoyable conversation. And it sounds like friends talking, it’s not our typical interview format. So the seven lessons that we learned in case you just want the Coles notes, we’ll say the Casebolt notes. Number one, commit to the thing that you want to do, declare it out loud, tell people that you’re doing it, because you’re more likely to actually finish a goal if you commit to it verbally, and you have other people to hold you accountable to that. Number two, you want to come up with a plan for when you’ll do it. If you’re just like I’m gonna write a novel in the month of November, and you don’t put time on your calendar for it. It’s much less likely to happen. So for me this looked like blocking out an hour every day. For me it was my first hour of the day between nine and 10am I’m where I’m sitting at my desk to get it done. Sometimes I didn’t do it, then sometimes I did it before, but I always had that hour blocked off. Number three, figure out what you can let go of figure out what you can deprioritize. For a lot of you who are listening to this, that might be social media, right? Like I already have sort of deprioritize social media have stepped away from it in a lot of ways. So it’s not taking up as much of my time. I also let my husband know, like, part of my process here was saying to my husband, I need to write at least 1500 words a day, in order to meet this challenge. Can you cook more dinner, right, like just making sure that we set that number four set a reasonable goal. So for some people, the goal is I want to hit 50,000 words by the end of the month, and I could write 10,000 words a day for five days, which would be banana pants, but it’s possible, right? Sometimes it’s people who, you know, maybe your goal is just like I want to write daily, I want to commit to a daily practice, those are two very different goals to say, you know, 10,000 words a day for five days versus 1500 words a day for 30 days. So really making sure that as you are figuring out what it is that you want to accomplish, setting a reasonable goal in place. Number five, find a way to have some accountability to whatever you have declared that you want to accomplish. In this case, for me, it’s having Stacey and Meghan where I can go to them and say, not just you know, oh, I’m really frustrated, because I didn’t get my workout in today. But also like, Oh, these characters are driving me kind of nuts. What should I do about it? Now, Megan, and Stacey have both been my coaches in my life. Megan, as a business coach, Stacy’s a parenting coach. So they also are both able to give some input about how to make my life and business fit my goals. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Maybe think about who can help you be a community who can help you figure things out who can help celebrate with you, when you do hit those goals, whether they’re those daily goals, the overall goals, whatever that looks like. Number six, be flexible with the outcome. In our fiction, writing, this means sort of like, you know, we don’t always necessarily know where our novels are going to go, even if we have them plotted out. But in our businesses, this could be, you know, being able to say, I want to make this much money in 2023, I don’t really know where every single dollar is going to come from, but I’m going to set that goal and I’m going to work to achieve it without holding it too tightly. And the seventh lesson that we all sort of agreed upon from National Novel Writing Month is to let yourself have fun. Chase the novelty, let yourself do what feels good. And in your business, this could feel like you know, no one ever wants to like clear out their inbox or do their bookkeeping, they’re going to be those boring things that you need to get done to be a responsible adult. But maybe for you, this means, you know, hopping on a couple more coffee chats, or working really hard to get everything done that you need to do when the rewarding yourself with something fun, making sure that you’re building those celebrations and those rewards into everything that you’re doing, whether it’s a personal goal or a business goal, or just the way that you’re approaching your life. Having those ways that you are able to make things fun and make them feel good and exciting again, can make such a huge difference. So there is my quick overview of the seven marketing lessons that I learned this year from National Novel Writing Month. And now I’m going to lead you right into my conversation with Megan and Stacy. So

without further ado, here you go. Hello, y’all. We’re here for a special

on the seat on the seat of my pants edition of the socials lid on podcast where I am speaking with two of my romance reading romance writing business besties. I have Megan flat here and Stacy Spencer, you guys want to say hello.

Megan Flatt 8:58
Okay. Hello, thank you so much for doing this. This is going to be so fun.

Stacy Spensley 9:03
Hi, ladies, always lovely to talk to you.

Meg Casebolt 9:06
So, I have been working through National Novel Writing Month, which is every November, there’s a challenge that you can do to write 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November. And it’s something that I have never done before. But this year, I wanted to take on the challenge. And I think Megan, you were the one who said to Stacy and I that you were going to do it this year and sort of spurred us into doing National Novel Writing Month or it’s called NaNoWriMo by the nerds who do it. What we wanted to do today is since we are all both authors, aspiring fiction authors and bit online business owners, we wanted to talk very briefly with you about some of the lessons that we’ve learned from doing NaNoWriMo this month, so I’m gonna let Megan start because she is our planner. She probably has an idea where she wants to go

Megan wonders what lessons you learned?

Megan Flatt 10:02
Gosh, you know, I think the biggest thing for me is that it’s that we have to block out time for what’s important to us. And that can shift and that can be different for a month, you know, for for for November for NaNoWriMo, we blocked out time to, to fit in this writing. And I think that that can apply to our businesses as well. It’s like, decide what season you’re in, in your business, decide what season you’re in, in your life. Maybe you need to block out more time for your family, or more time for writing or more time for a hobby or more time for fitness or whatever it is. It’s like, decide what needs to be the priority, and then put the time it put the time on your calendar. I think Mike, you said it like we can do anything we want, but just not all at the same time.

Meg Casebolt 10:50
And Stacey, you were saying? Like it’s not just about setting aside the time for the one thing that is the focus, but also like, what are the things that you have to let go of to do that? Right?

Stacy Spensley 11:00
Yeah, I mean, I know both of you have kids, I have three little kids who are homeschooled. So they’re also with me all the time. So for me, it was thinking about how I could make it fit into my actual life, not how I could make it fit into my idealized schedule if life were perfect, because it’s not. Because there’s always something like, we’re chatting today because my husband’s not at work, because he goes tested positive for COVID this morning, so but I’m like, But I messaged you both this morning saying, well, I might get to write a little bit more. Because it’s finding those little bits of time for me. But also then it’s like, okay, well, maybe my kids a little bit more screentime today, or maybe, you know, I go grocery shopping after dinner, so that I can squeeze in the time when I actually have the brain cells to make sentences, which is not after bedtime. I know I cannot believe

Meg Casebolt 11:55
that you are writing until like 11 o’clock at night, whereas my brain will wake me up at five o’clock in the morning to get 1000 words out before the kids wake up, which has never happened before. But when it started happening, I was like, Oh, I guess I should lean into this, I guess I should just see what happens.

Megan Flatt 12:15
I was just gonna say for me, I am just like constantly jotting down notes in the notes section on my phone. In those early morning times and the late evening times, like I’ll think of something I’ll think of a phrase or a word and I’ll jot it down. And then for me, I have to kind of do that clear the deck like I have to get some of the the to do list items off my list because my brain will kind of focus on those like, Oh, I’ve got to do this thing, or I’ve got to do that thing. So for me it was getting those things off my list first. And then like, not that I was treating it as a reward, but kind of like, okay, let me get these things out of the way. And then I can just focus on writing. So

Meg Casebolt 12:53
I was using it as a reward I like some days, I would wake up and start writing first thing and like see how much I can get done. But some days this month, I was also like, Okay, how quickly can I get the work done that I need to get done? So that I can write again, you know, it’s kind of like that Parkinson’s principle thing where like, yeah, the the time that something will take, or what is it the

Stacy Spensley 13:15
the time allotted is how much that expands to fill the time allotted?

Meg Casebolt 13:19
Yeah, so it’s the same as the time a lot. And so if I say, well, I need to get this work done in two hours instead of three hours. So I can have an hour to write. I could focus in on things and then almost reward myself by saying, Okay, I finished now how to when I enjoy something.

Megan Flatt 13:34
Well, and that’s it, Meg, if we’re, if we’re talking about like, how do we apply this back to the rest of our business, right? It’s that it’s that whole concept that the time we need is kind of the time we have and so putting those containers around, like I’ve got to get all of this done in two hours versus four hours. Yeah, the I think the important thing is kind of rose to the top. And I was probably more efficient, you know, kind of not dabbling as much to get through some of those tasks, because I wanted to get on to something else.

Stacy Spensley 14:03
When and if I can segue a little bit from that is that, you know, the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words, in a month, which a lot of people like to break down, it’s an average of just under 1700 words a day. And you both have had days where you’ve just hammered out 1000s of words, and I’m like, I got 500 words today. But also, you know, we’re just at different places and that’s okay. But then last night, I was writing and now I’m finally up into into the teens. And I was telling Megan last night since we’re on the same timezone sorry, Meg, that, you know, I kind of gotten to the end of the section, but I’m like, You know what, I really want to hit 16,000 words and I’m really close. So I just wrote for like an extra, I don’t know, 10 minutes maybe, and got those last few 100 words to find a better stopping spot and if I can plug Megan I find that same thing with work with like, when I go to focus sessions, which are virtual 90 minute virtual co working sessions, that having an End Time pushes me to finish because I, like you said it expands to fill the time allotted if I don’t allow that much time. And I think that’s the whole concept of NaNoWriMo is that if you only give yourself the month of November, you’re like, well, crud, I only have another, whatever, eight days, I gotta hurry up. As opposed to I’ll write this someday, which I know Meg is somebody else with ADHD. Some days never. If you say as soon as possible, that is never. You give me a hard date. It might be the day before but I

Megan Flatt 15:39
will do it.

Meg Casebolt 15:42
I’m, Stacy’s written three nonfiction books. So she can speak to the deadlines of having a publisher say this is when things need to get done versus, you know, oh, I think I’ll write that book about toddler emotional activities by next year, in my free

Megan Flatt 15:57

Stacy Spensley 16:00
And that’s the thing is the first book, I was like, Can I really write a book, and they have a seven week turnaround, and I did it and I, it was in the beginning of the pandemic, and I wrote it in my car in the Starbucks parking lot using their Wi Fi. Because my kids, everybody was home. So this is much better, because I’ve been reading this one on my couch.

Meg Casebolt 16:20
And I think also a big part of it, like you were saying, Stacey is like over the course of the month, you are hoping to hit a certain threshold. And that’s sort of the idea of the challenge. But I think sometimes for me, I had to be like, Well, okay, today, I’m not going to hit my 1700 words today. But I’ll make up for it another day in order to hit that goal. And then I, we’re recording this on the 22nd. I’ve already hit my 50,000 words. And I’m like, You know what I feel really good writing. I’m just gonna set a goal to continue writing 1000 words a day for the rest of the month, because it’s Thanksgiving, and it’s the holidays, and we have visitors. And so I like kind of front loaded my writing so that I could ease out the tail end of it. Whereas Stacy’s, like, there’s a deadline, and I will write 49,000 words.

Megan Flatt 17:11
She’s ramping up into it. Yeah.

Stacy Spensley 17:14
I’m gonna be like, 34,000. No. But also, and I think that brings us to a slightly different point is that we were all in different places. And for me, it’s hard not to compare, like, feeling like I should be further ahead. But also I know, like, we were all chatting about our plots before the month started, and I changed last minute, because I was, and I think Meg said, when I was talking about it was kind of hemming and hawing of like, which story I should write. And Meg said, you sound more excited about this one, right, the one you’re excited about. And I think, especially again, having ADHD, that, you know, it’s if there’s not novelty and challenge, or I said, Why can’t I just write the easy one my brain doesn’t work that way, is, I feel like, in some ways, mine is harder. But I also need that push, because then it’s a problem for my brain to figure out as opposed to just a task to do. And not everybody works that way, which is fine. And there’s

Meg Casebolt 18:11
a lot of comparison itis in this online business space of like, well, that person is ahead of me in business, and they’re making so much more money than me and I don’t have a team that big. And I don’t work that often and, and like, it’s really hard not to do that to not look around you and say how come I’m not where they are. But you also have to recognize your own limitations, your own goals, what you’re walking into it with, you know, I walked into NaNoWriMo with half a book written and then I just had to, like keep going with the ideas. I was already like, on ramped into it. And I just needed to take my people, my characters over the finish line. But then I also lost the excitement of the meat cue. You know, I had to go like, actually, like,

I texted you guys and been like, Oh, my God, I cried so much today because they finally are breaking up.

And so I had to work through different difficulties. It’s not that like you’re writing well, actually, Stacy’s writing is harder because she’s writing like vampires and has to build all these magic systems and world building that we don’t have to but um, you know, we all have different challenges. Part of

Stacy Spensley 19:18
it is like, you know, I chose something where I had to figure this stuff out a little bit more first, whereas you guys are doing contemporaries, which it’s not that it’s easy. It’s just different. And of course, my other issues like whoo hoo, I’m launching my nonfiction book right now.

Megan Flatt 19:35
For me. Yeah, exactly. And, and that’s why it’s been so great. And this is what I was going to what I was just going to say this is why it’s been so great that we have each other and again tying it back to business, because it would be really disheartening or it could be really disheartening if if we were which I don’t think any of us really are posting our word counts on social but if we were just posting our word counts on social It would be like, oh, this person is so far ahead of me or this person. But because we’re having this because we have this support group going on, we’re also talking about like, what’s going on behind the scenes? What’s going on behind the scenes with our families? What’s going on behind the scenes with our businesses? And what’s going on behind the scenes with this book. And so then it takes that it kind of takes that pressure off of like, well, I should be further it’s like, no, because we’re all kind of in it. You know, we’re all kind of in the behind the scenes together too.

Stacy Spensley 20:29
Well, the the irony, of course, is that I met both of you in business groups for support. Yeah.

Meg Casebolt 20:35
Megan was our business coach, both me and Stacey.

Stacy Spensley 20:39
And I met and then I did Meg’s group as well. But it’s I think it’s also it’s also kind of helping me because again, like I’m the word behind isn’t true, but like I am not as far as you both in word count. But then last night, we were talking through some plot points. And I was joking that, you know, I’m going to be the character and Megan’s next book.

Megan Flatt 20:59
100% I was literally copying and pasting Meg, I don’t know if you saw this, because it was later. But I was literally copying and pasting what Stacy was saying, like, here’s how the plot could go. And I was taking her lines and putting it into my notes document. I’m like, oh, yeah, I’m gonna have a character actually say that, like, Stacy is now actually in the book.

Stacy Spensley 21:17
Yeah, and so I have investment and buy in, in both of your books. Also developing, I’m just like, oh, I want to know how it turns out, I want these characters to get together now that I’ve helped you ruin

Megan Flatt 21:31
it, you know, I want to change the subject a little bit. But I think it’s kind of building off this, of just like how important communication is like when we’re to get to getting something like this done. And like, we’ve been able to really communicate and support each other. And I have the oldest kids of our of our group. So I’ve been able to have this conversation with my children. I mean, I’m not telling them what I’m writing about, let’s be honest. But I’ve had this conversation with my husband, with my children, with my team with all of you both for that accountability piece, but also that support piece. So like my kids, my kids know, because again, it’s my kids are off from school this whole week, they’re home this whole week. But they know that if I have my noise cancelling headphones on, like, you know, like, they’re like, we’ll do something fun. We’re gonna go go kart racing later today. But like, I need to get my word count in. And I think all of us are moms. But for those of us that are, you know, socialized or raised with kind of this, this woman perspective that we have to put aside everything else to take care of our families. And I think that that’s another important business lesson that I’m taking away from this is that I don’t always have to be the one to drop everything to like it. Sometimes you do, sometimes you absolutely do. But sometimes you can be like, hey, I really need this and other people can step in, or things can fall by the wayside, and it’s fine. We all ate frozen chicken nuggets for dinner last night, and it was fine.

Stacy Spensley 22:59
Well, I definitely told my kids but of course, they’ve seen me write books before which this one’s a little bit different. But it’s really cute because my my youngest is almost four. And for the last few months, she’ll like pull out a toy and be like, I’m like, No, yo kids will like set up like a play office. She’ll set up her plans be like, I’m going to work on my book.

Megan Flatt 23:21
We joke, we joke that Stacy’s four year old is our book coach, she comes up with some really good ideas on our call sometimes. So

Meg Casebolt 23:28
I see her because of it. I think you know, when you think about writing a novel, too, it’s like the very end of it, you get to those acknowledgments sections, and most people skip them. But sometimes I’ll just like, skim through them and be like, look at how many people this took. It’s not just the paid. It’s not just the paid labor that’s happening. It’s like the spouses and the beta readers and the you know, just the friends who are there to support you and bring you food when you’re under deadline. And I think the sanctions point absolutely true for our businesses. It’s like, you know, we’re recording this in November, maybe it’s a really good time for all of us as humans and as business owners to go who would go in the acknowledgments of my business.

Unknown Speaker 24:12
What else

Megan Flatt 24:13
we came up with so many things Meg, what else was on our list of you know, what I think it lessons learned,

Meg Casebolt 24:19
allowing yourself to have fun, you know, and prioritizing fun and like chasing what’s exciting and sometimes like with our with our books, I have three different books that I’m bouncing between right now because of the trilogy because I’m survival. But you know, I sometimes I’ll get an idea and I’ll write it down and then I’ll be like, well, that’s the thing I want to do today. And I think we can apply the same thing to our businesses which you have a to do list there are things that sometimes you need to crank out and you need to get done and it doesn’t matter. And like no one gets excited about getting well okay, getting to Inbox Zero Yes, but like If the sitting down and writing the emails is not going to be the thing that you’re excited about, so what is something that you can be excited about? Or maybe maybe your business doesn’t have to be the thing that’s exciting, maybe your business is the thing that pays your bills, and then you can find a hobby that you love that your business allows you to do.

Megan Flatt 25:16
So go write this, I was just gonna say, this has really been on my mind, as we’re getting to the end of November. As you know, as we’ve all been able to carve out so much time, whatever that looks like for each of us, we’ve been able to carve out, relatively speaking so much time to do this, and I enjoy it. And it’s so fun. And you know, sometimes my husband will look over at me, and I’ll just be like, smiling or laughing at like, what I’m writing. And it’s like, I’m so enjoying it. And so I’ve really been thinking about, like, what does next month look like? And how do I bring this? How do I bring this joy? Because let’s face it, the last three years, there’s been lots of things to not be joyful about in our businesses in our world. And you know, and so I’ve really been I’ve really been trying to think like, How can I replicate this, or, or emulate this in other in other parts of my life, and in other parts of my business? And, and I think, you know, talking about, like, the social slowdown, and talking about marketing and all of those things. It’s like, you know, yes, sometimes there’s some drudgery, but like, what is the thing that brings you joy? What sounds fun to do? And could we just lean into that?

Meg Casebolt 26:25
Yeah, I love that thing I

Stacy Spensley 26:26
wanted to add quick is that, you know, we had been talking about this. And after my third book, my husband’s like, Haha, now you’ve now that you’ve written three nonfiction books, you can write a romance novel, and I’m like, I’ve never written fiction before, what the heck. And this was part of our discussion of what we started with, well, let’s just do NaNoWriMo. Right. And so it feels kind of silly to say that like, because none of us are Romance Writers. I mean, we aren’t right, but what we weren’t. And so it was, I was out with some friends. And I kind of like, confessed to one of them. I was like, some friends and I are doing this, this thing. And I’m writing a romance novel. And she’s like, wait, what I was like, what, huh? And I told them, they’re like, when can we read it? That’s great. And I’m like, I felt like it was silly. But they were all super jazzed. And they’ve been cheering me on, they’re like, keep me post, like, keep us posted. We want to know what happens next. And like, you know, I felt like it was silly, but nobody else did. And I feel like sometimes that’s like, with our businesses, we don’t sometimes especially like, we feel alone, or like nobody else understands or like that nobody else cares. Sometimes. Yeah, people want us to succeed. And then like, also, now I feel more obligated. I mean, if I don’t hit 50,000 words, by the end of November, like, well, I’d be bummed kind of because like, I’ve been working really hard. But also, I know I can keep going. Because like I’ve, it’s I’ve been comparing it to running my first marathon, which I have never done. But like people who run their first marathon, who they may not be looking for a PR, they’re just looking to prove that they can run it and finish. And for me, this is my my first race where I’m just looking to say, I can write all month towards a goal and get as close as possible to the end. Because that’s the other thing is, there’s a lot of editing.

Megan Flatt 28:14
Right. And we’re all we’re all pretty established business owners at this point. So I think that I sometimes think there’s almost I mean, like, there’s permission for us to be a beginner again, right, there’s permission for us to, to, you know, to just kind of, because I think once we’re so established in business, we feel like whether it’s conscious or subconscious, we feel like we have to have it all figured out all the time. And I know, that’s how I feel in my business. Sometimes, like, you know, like, well, I should already know how to do this, I should already know the right way to do this. And I think we’ve, the three of us have given ourselves and each other permission to go back to being a beginner with this with this project. And again, I’m hoping that I can that’s, that’s a lesson that I can learn to take into, you know, back into my business, but it’s okay to not know how to do something.

Stacy Spensley 29:05
Well, and, and the three of us all signed up for a class together, which was super fun to be able to talk to you both afterwards, during the sign up one of our favorite authors and podcasters had, how do you write your romance novel class? And that was like a two hour workshop on a Sunday. And so we all went. And we’re like comparing, like our takeaways and our notes, and then like, keep referencing back. Remember, she said this, remember? She said, Yeah, resist civility together. And also, again, like, all three of us have a lot of expertise in what we do. Like I have paid you both money for that expertise. Meg has bought my books, like, we’re all there for it. And to be able to also do that together and have that community and be able to learn new stuff, and not necessarily have it for business purposes and like having something for ourselves I

Meg Casebolt 29:58
think is really valuable. But I think also like recognizing that we are whole human beings and the fact that I can set an intention and declare that I want to get something done, and then I can celebrate that. And then I can take that. You know, for me, it’s like writing for an hour a day, when I don’t want to write these romance novels anymore, I can go write a blog post, I can go right and email. Once I’ve established that routine, it should be easier once I’ve blocked out that time in my day. So it’s not like, the things that we’re doing in our personal lives are not relevant to our business, or vice versa, like becoming better people, whatever that looks like, you know, even if it’s becoming a romance author, everything’s applicable, we are greater than the sum of our parts, we are in your bodies of work. And I think all of us well, at least vegan. And I have entrepreneurs who are characters in our books, because that’s what we know. And you write what you know. And you talk about what you love, and you explore what’s interesting. And the last thing I want to bring up also, because I know we’re tight on time is, for me, a big part of it has been having like a Northstar, having an end in mind, but also being flexibility about the road that it takes to get there. You know, and, Megan, you’ve taught me so much over the years about goal setting, and time management and planning and things along those lines that are really applicable here, which is like, figuring out what is the outcome that I want, but not necessarily knowing every step along the way. I know if I’m writing a romance novel, that these two knuckleheads are going to have to kiss and be happy ever after at the end of it. But I’ve been really surprised, as I’m writing like, Wait, she said, What to who? Like, it’s almost like, they’re having their own world, and it just happens to be coming out of my fingers. I think the same can be true in our businesses, especially when we’re doing direct client services, where it’s like, I know, for me, it’s like, I know, the outcome is I have to get someone an SEO plan. I don’t know what all those steps are gonna be along the way until I actually go do the work. And that’s okay.

Megan Flatt 32:07
Right? Well, I think about like, different seasons in our business. And this is, again, something that I’ve really been thinking as we’re approaching 2023. And as I’m thinking about, you know, what are kind of my priorities for 2023. And being okay with thinking in terms of seasons, like you mentioned, at the beginning, I’ve actually done NaNoWriMo a couple of times. But in the past my my season, my goal has been to hit that 50,000 word count, and that in the past, I’ve done it over the course of a couple of different books. And it’s been more about like making sure I hit that writing goal. And I’ve written you know, I’ll write a little bit on this story today. And I’ll write a little bit of the story. And I’ll write this little short story. And so this time going into it, I had a different goal, I had a different goal, I started a brand new story from scratch, that I had zero words on the page, and you started it

Meg Casebolt 32:58
because you were inspired by a tick tock video, let’s tell a story.

Megan Flatt 33:02
100% was inspired by a tick tock, I sent the TIC tock to the two of you. And I was like, Oh my gosh, if this isn’t the plot for a romance novel, I don’t know what it is. So I’m gonna have to give that tick tock or credit in my acknowledgments for inspiration. But I set my goal this year to work only on this story. And so I think about like these different seasons of our business where we can say like, this is the season where I’m focused on visibility. This is the season where I’m focused on systems. This is the season where I’m focused on profit, like whatever it is, and not that you can’t do those all at the same time. But I think it’s just like, Meg, you’re bouncing around between different books, you know, and different stories as they pop into your head. And Stacey is like doing a lot of like word building. She’s having to, like, think a lot about her writing. So it’s like we each kind of have a slightly different intention in what we’re doing. And that’s okay, too. Not only is that okay, I think that’s really good.

Stacy Spensley 34:04
Megan, did you just imply that I’m procrastinating building systems for my business by building systems in my romance novel?

Megan Flatt 34:12
No. So I’m, I am procrastinating building systems in my business because I just want to find out what like, in the in the class we took she, she said, the whole point of a romance novel is like two knuckleheads fall in love, and I just keep doing it. Like, I gotta find out what happens to these two knuckleheads like, screw everything else in my life. Chicken nuggets for dinner, we got to find out what happens to these two knuckleheads.

Stacy Spensley 34:34
I do think it’s really fun, though, is that like, we don’t even know it’s like, how it’s gonna happen. Yeah, it’s like, I want to know how they get together. It’s my hope, but I don’t know.

Meg Casebolt 34:43
There’s, there’s a kind of a framework within the fiction writing community, which is that some people are plotters, which means they plot out all of the, like, beats within their story before they get writing. And some people are Pantsers which means they fly by the seat of their pants. I was sharing this with my team and they were like, pantsing like up Well, that’s like no. And I think the same is true for business, which is that. And I think also, this is not even just like an either or I really think it’s a spectrum where you can be much more of a planner and have a plan of attack. And like when I teach SEO, some of my people are plotters, and they’re like, I know, every single blog post, I’m gonna write for the next year with every keyword. And then there are some people who are Panthers who are like, I’m just gonna record a podcast, because that’s what I want to talk about that day. And I’ll go back later and optimize it. And so there’s no one right way to do any of this. Maybe that’s my biggest takeaway from all of this is like, there’s no one right way. Find the way that works for you. lean into it, let it be fun, have some novelty Chase, what makes you happy Chase what you’re curious about, and then like, figure out how to let the rest go?

Megan Flatt 35:51
Yes, yes. I need to write that down. I mean, that’s it. That’s it right there. You know, there, there is a right way to do it your way.

Meg Casebolt 36:01
Mike drop for Megan.

Any final thoughts? Also, the challenges work? Yeah,

urgency, scarcity, gamification, if you need to find something. And knowing if challenges work for your brain, some people panic, because they’re like, Oh, it’s too much pressure. Okay, then don’t do it. But if challenges work for your brain, if you want that urgency that scarcity, that community, that gamification community, pursue it.

Megan Flatt 36:33
I think the community that’s been the biggest thing is having having the two of you having the three of us to talk about this with because I’ve always I’ve always kept it kind of a secret when I’ve done it in the past. Because I’m not a fiction writer. I’m not going to tell anyone I’m doing this, you know. So it’s been really, really, so much more successful to be doing it with people than trying to just be in my little Batcave doing it by myself.

Stacy Spensley 36:56
Like I said, I like I told a few people and like I was like, almost embarrassed. And no, I was the only one who was embarrassed about it. And a friend was actually like, oh my gosh, that’s so cool. Like, I’ve had the story idea, but like, I’ve just, you know, she’s got, um, like chronic fatigue type issues. So, you know, it’s hard for her to like, she’s a spoon, you should. It’s hard for her to have the energy to do to plan things. And she runs her own business. And she’s like, what had the story I was like, well tell me about it. And she told me about it. I’m like, That sounds amazing. And she sat down and wrote 2000 words. And then she’s kept going. And she knows she’s also at a slower pace. But she’s like, I never would have started this, if I just hadn’t happened to talk to you about it. And actually had some encouragement because it was all in my head. And I thought nobody else cared about me.

Meg Casebolt 37:37
Yeah. But the moral of the story is, if you have a story idea, you need to talk to Stacy spitefully. And somehow, she will take that idea and spin it into a seven part.

Stacy Spensley 37:48
I mean, I am a coach. I am a trained professional. My friends, have take trained

Meg Casebolt 37:53
professional. Thank you guys so much for joining on with me, I’m very short notice is sort of just talking about our experience. I really appreciate you and thank you for being business besties and writing buddies.

Megan Flatt 38:08
This was so fun. This whole month has been so fun. Thanks to both of you.

Stacy Spensley 38:12
Thanks to both of you. You’ll be in my acknowledgments if anyone ever sees this story.

Meg Casebolt 38:19
Thank you so much for listening to the social slowdown podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social slowdown.com and sign up for our email list so you never miss an episode. We’d also love if you could write a review to help other small business owners find the show you can head over to social slowdown.com/review Or grab that link in our show notes for easy access. We’ll be back soon with more tips to help you market your business without being beholden to social media. Talk to you then.

Please forgive any typos as this transcript was automatically generated by otter.ai.

7 marketing lessons I learned from National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) pinterest pin with stacy spensley and megan flatt