Happy Friday and welcome to the Scribes. Casey here!
Recently, my family has become infatuated with watching Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible. I know the show has been on for about four seasons now, but we had never seen it until I stumbled upon one afternoon. I was supposed to be plotting one of the three stories doing combat in my brain, but, hey – I didn’t feel like it!
After watching about a dozen episodes, several themes played out over and over again. Such as:
Owners who micromanage to the point they do everything and don’t let their employees do their jobs.
Owners who let their staff walk all over them.
Owners who have no idea how much they are spending or what it costs to do business.
And, sadly, writers are often guilty of the same things. (Okay, micromanaging is mostly our job!).
Here’s what I’ve learned from Chef Robert Irvine:
1. Be honest. Denial does you no good. If you’re not up front about a problem, you can’t fix it. So if you aren’t writing like you want to, it’s time to assess your habits, document your day and determine how you can work more effectively.
2. Work smarter, not harder. I’ve encountered this philosophy in my corporate day job. I’ve witnessed first hand the belief that if you work 90 hours a week, that somehow you’re doing a good job. In my experience, that’s not true. Not if it means you end up burned out and unhappy. That is not a good long-term strategy. Working smarter means using your time effectively and delegating/outsourcing tasks when it make sense to do so.
3. Old dogs can learn new tricks. Bad writing can be fixed as long as you’re willing to learn new tricks. And you are willing to throw away the old and bring in the new.
4. Outsource. Robert doesn’t do everything by himself. He has a trusted builder and a designer (and I am sure a host of others you don’t see on camera) to help him out. Writers shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help or hire professionals when warranted.
5. Backbone. Get one. As writers, it’s our job to manage our careers and be our own champion. It doesn’t matter if you have an agent or not. No one can look out for you better than you. Like it or not, we are all small business owners and we all have to be savvy, especially now, with restrictive, rights grabbing contracts and other pitfalls.
And finally, Chef Robert’s most important lesson – do the best you can, every day.
Well, what do you think? Any lessons learned to share with us?