I just wrote a book, but don’t go out and buy it yet, because I don’t think it’s finished yet.
— Lawrence Welk
As always, the end of the first month of the New Year ends as quickly as the holiday season. And so too, do lofty goals and New Year resolutions set by many of you. Actually, statistics show that by January 15, most New Year resolutions are a distant memory.
I can generally tell from the voluminous calls and emails I get from people at this time of the year that are eager to get started on their writing, or resurrect a manuscript they have yet to finish. Then they fade into oblivion until the next year.
Time has taught me that many of you are not properly prepared for the task of writing; hence you lapse back into thinking about writing instead of doing it. Because you jump in blind and don’t have an organized and well thought-out plan, of course, you become overwhelmed. You will be more productive if you sit down to write with a plan in place.
I’d Love to say that I would much rather spend my time with those who have made a commitment to get on with the job of writing instead of those who are digging their heads in quick sand. But, I have been there, so I understand. I understand that it takes a great deal of mental energy and effort to face a new undertaking. As such, I will strive here to motivate and inspire you with 6 tips to get you back to your goals.
Focus on what you want to write
Get your head sorted by clearing your mind of unwanted clutter. Get a clean writing pad and write down all the wonderful ideas that are dominating your thoughts. Highlight those ideas that jump out at you. On another piece of paper, rewrite your highlighted list, only this time, write down the ones that you believe have legs, as we say in the journalist industry, meaning those ideas that you can build and expand upon. Call them ‘Priority.’ In essence, you are prioritising ‘Priority. Take your time and focus to make sure you are excited about your ‘Priority’ list. Being enthused about writing on a topic is a great motivator and this will lead you to action. Now, select your first idea/topic and make that your goal to start and finish.
Find your comfort zone
Find a comfortable place to write. It could be the kitchen table, or a café; be comfortable.
Write every day
Commit to writing every day, whether it’s one sentence, twenty pages, or research notes. Getting into this habit will unleash your creativity, make you accountable and productive.
Associate with like-minded people
Writing has its place and time, but don’t neglect other writing communities, forums, blogs, workshops or other social networking mediums. Associating with like-minded people online is a great resource and can enhance your writing.
Study the craft of writing
Attend writing groups (or create one) and frequent writing workshops to learn the craft of writing. Set a goal to attend a writer’s conference.
We writers have a hard time sharing our works. We hug it like a new born baby, because it’s so… personal, but it’s so much smarter to have your work in progress critiqued. This is where that writing group or writing workshop can come in quite handy. Some of the criticism may be harsh, but it’s part of your learning curve. Take it on the chin, and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.
In order to be successful as a writer, and indeed, in every aspect of your life, requires levels of discomfort and inconvenience. Like it or lump it, sacrifice is necessary. So the sooner you accept that inconvenience and discomfort are part of the equation, or rather, the building blocks of success, meaning get into the habit of doing things that you may not like to do, the sooner you will accomplish all the goals you set.
Now, motivation and inspiration is a great help, and you can get them in many forms and fashions, and from many people around you. However, it is only when you take action that you will write that book right out of your head!
Write It, Work It, Publish it!
© 2010 Cherry-Ann Carew
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Cherry-Ann Carew, aka The Power Writing Coach, Editor, Best-selling author and Founder of Writetastic Solutions is passionate about helping aspiring fiction and non-fiction writers bring out their creative expression to write their books. Learn how her coaching and editing services can help you at www.writetasticsolutions.com.