The Simplification Mindset

Mary Keeley

Blogger: Mary Keeley

Recently, I read a Harvard Business Review online article by Jeff Rodman, a corporate co-founder. The title, “How I Built a $2 Billion Company by Thinking Small,” is what first caught my eye. This type of topic always intrigues me because, as we know, writing is a business and most writers start out small. Plus, let’s face it, blending life and work is demanding and complicated. Maybe he would offer simplification tactics writers can apply to their craft as well. I kept reading, hoping to find some gold nuggets to share.

We agents at Books & Such try to set aside time each week for what we call “deep-thought.” We use it in several ways: to stay up to date with what is new in the industry or to research ways we can serve our clients better or to grow professionally. My time pondering this article was well spent. I saw interesting parallels for writers that extended beyond the business side to craft issues as well. Applying a simplification mindset to areas of your work and writing might pay off in a big way. I’ll offer two examples here, and then let’s talk.simplification

Your Writing Craft

Which number connects with your brain quicker from a reading perspective: 104.99999 or 105? Of course 105 is simple and clearer, right? Now let’s apply this to your writing. The newer you are to the craft, the more you’ll hear about tightening your work by eliminating every word that isn’t absolutely necessary. This is true and good advice. But many writers seek to accomplish this by using too many exotic, descriptive, unfamiliar, eloquent sounding adjectives after every noun and how-when-where-why-adverb. So many descriptors that the reader has to stop reading and take time to process the meaning.

It’s easy to fall prey to this approach. I’m guilty of doing it myself. But this interrupts the flow and, at best, irritates readers. At worst, they put the book down because they have to work too hard when the reading is supposed to be a pleasurable pastime. Instead, by applying the simplification mindset, a well-crafted sentence or two may illuminate the passage without interruption and also re-enforce the tone in the process.

Your Business as an Authorpreneur

The author of the article talks about “doing more with less” and how small innovations lead to big breakthroughs. Practically speaking, small innovations for writers might be to:

  • Clean out your filing system, electronic and hard copy.
  • Write and schedule social media and blog posts weeks ahead.
  • Clear your work area of clutter. An orderly space lends itself to an orderly mind.
  • Keep up with the industry and what publishers are publishing.

When your work environment functions efficiently, your mind is clear to dream. To plan reachable goals one step at a time, which prepare you for a big breakthrough.

I encourage you to set aside your own deep-thought time and read the entire article. It isn’t long. You might want to select one or two of the author’s catchy phrases to post on your computer monitor (giving him due credit). Take notes on insights you glean for how and where you can employ the simplification mindset.

Now let’s share insights. In what areas of your writing space, schedule, craft, and WIP can you envision simplifying for better results?


Writers, adapt the simplification mindset for better results in your craft and your business. Click to Tweet.

An innovative approach to business has applications for writers too. Here are two examples. Click to Tweet.