Today, I’m explaining how using the 80/20 Rule can help you pick which creative projects to work on.
The 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 Rule states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort. More specifically, it means that you should focus on the things that create the most—the best—results. In today’s world, we’re so distracted by so many things that it’s important to take time to think about what matters the most.
Applying the Rule Creatively
So, how does the rule apply to making picture books and your creativity? The 80/20 Rule and how I apply it is all about the concept of the story. The concept of the story is why we write the words and draw the pictures. It also drives all the design decisions you’ll make for telling your story.
You want to work on that concept, and really come up with a great concept before you put in a lot of time. This is important because you want to make those books that will earn you royalties and get talked about. Having the right concept actually makes marketing and your reputation as a storyteller grow so much more easily and organically. And this is why it’s so important to focus on the story concept.
Choosing Your Concept
For example, when I had the idea for MIXED, I actually had a ton of ideas, and I was confused at the time about which one I should pursue. Back in 2016, I had a terrible bike accident. The accident made me think about what I should focus on. It made me ask myself which books I would make on if I only four or five more books to make. Asking myself that question really helped me clarify that I wanted MIXED to be my next book. Even knowing that, it took two more years to actually get the story where I wanted it to be, and then it took another five or six months to illustrate it. Later, there’s time that goes into marketing and getting the book out in the world. I’m so happy that the book is doing well.
That is how the 80/20 Rule applies to making picture books. You want to take all of your ideas and find THE IDEA that’s going to produce 80% of the results. If you can get that right and make that book, then the amount of work and effort that you put into marketing and earning more income from your book just gets ten times easier.