Escape rooms are games where you are put into a situation with a team, locked in, with clues you have to solve in order to escape the situation. Committing to publishing is exactly like that, except it’s all in your head.
Why? Deciding to stop publishing is a much bigger decision than deciding to begin.
In entrepreneurship, founders are encouraged to think about their escape (exits). This is most often because thinking about an exit forces people to go through a visioning exercise. In order to properly consider an exit, you must be able to see it, feel it, and smell it.
But I’d like you to consider your escape from publishing for a different reason. That is: If you don’t know the exit process, it’ll just dribble off and you’ll feel dissatisfied and incomplete.
It’s kind of like when you have a bad sexual experience. You’ve been promised (or may you set your own expectations of) the world, only for it all to fizzle and get awkward or uncomfortable. What do you say? Thanks?
So that’s why, deciding to cease publishing something, means that you need to know how to do it.
Not knowing how to do it will lead to you resisting your own escape, even when getting out is for your own good!
Here are some of the reasons why escaping is tough:
- You have an audience. Even if it is a very small audience (under 30 members), a percentage of those people will be rabid readers. They will be fans. They’ve followed you because they really believe in what you’re doing, or you give them value, or you inspire them, or whatever the case may be.
- You don’t want to let your audience down. But this is also, partly, the default effect. Faced between continuing to publish and ceasing to publish, if you are already publishing then you will tend to favour the default (which is to keep publishing).
- The outcome is ambiguous: You started, and that was unfamiliar; but what will happen when you stop?
- You’ve invested loads of personal time, effort, and (probably) self into the work. Ceasing publication may cause you to experience grief, because it feels like it’s a part of you.
- It may be one of the ways that you started leading your field. If you were to cease publishing this thing, wouldn’t that mean that you’d lose your fans, stop being followed, stop being viewed as a leading light of consistency?
Working to become a thought leader is one thing.
But then what? What happens if you hate it? What happens if you aren’t seeing the results you expected?
What happens if you do end up with thousands of people on your list, media attention, and all of the golden glory, but you’re stressed out, hating everything that you’re doing, and want to stop publishing so that you can just go and get a job in a plant nursery in the sunshine?
Do you see, now, why being able to orchestrate your escape is such a critical thing?
Know your decision-making criteria for assessing your exit. Make sure that it’s robust enough that it forces you to consider all your options, not just the obvious one. Because, if you are honest with yourself, you’ll know that the “logical” solution to stress is just to stop doing things, instead of fixing your resilience (for example).
In content marketing and business publishing, bailing out because of stress is the cheap way out. You stop doing it instead of building the systems to support it.
If you’re one of those people without the guts to persist solving the problem, just don’t start. Great! You know that ahead of time. Go do something else, and make that a success — there’s much more glory in that.
But if you do have the gumption, do some thinking up-front.
Then, when you’re ready, bring in pro copywriters to make your content fly: