If you want to be a marathon runner, you must work at it every day. That requires strapping on the shoes and hitting the road. Want to lose weight, put locks on the cookie jar, up your veggie consumption and break a sweat. Same is true for writing. If your goal is to run a blog, do it. If you have a story that needs to be told, write it.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it.
The how, the motivation, the time, the ‘don’t feel like it’ feelings that cloud the goals are formidable objects that need an equally formidable plan to overcome. All it takes to succeed is a plan a few materials.
- Identify the things in your life that are blocking success. For me, there were several parts of my life that served as a distraction from writing, but were also things that I was responsible for: children, homeschooling, exercise – things that I obviously would never abandon in order to write. But other aspects of my life were easy to give up, freeing my time to write: Internet, movies, T.V., sleeping in.
- Get over the idea that in order to write, you must be ‘in the mood’ or ‘feeling creative’. Writing is a profession. Authors write daily, we keep idea journals, personal journals, we read books, poetry and blogs. Cross the obstacle off your list by scheduling writing time. Ideally, a daily schedule works best, but that isn’t an option for me. Instead, I have two days a week set aside to write for at least three hours. I work better with larger chunks of time. The other days, I’m able to find ten minutes here and there to read blogs, a chapter of two in a book, look for markets for my work and read up on what publishers and magazines want for publication.
- Subscribe to a newsletter or magazine for writers. I like Writer’s Digest, a monthly magazine filled with ideas, suggestions, and skills I need to hone my skills. On-line, I subscribe to a weekly newsletter called, Funds for Writers by Hope Clark. Her style is approachable and the information valuable. It’s a weekly shot in the arm to keep submitting, keep trying, and keep writing.
- Find a supporter, a writing partner, a writing group, a friend who will listen to your ideas and keep you focused and accountable. It works in the 12-step program and in weight loss classes, why wouldn’t it work for writers?
- Have a space just for writing. This might sound like a home-make over project, but it’s must simpler than that. It could be a desk outfitted with all the nice office-like paraphernalia. It could be the dining room table (and you eat off TV trays). Your writing space could be portable – a bag with your notebook, a few pens, the latest copy of your favorite Writing Journal, and your corner coffee shop frequent customer card.
- The greatest obstacle is our own ego. Rejection letters can come fast and furious, stomping on our best work with photocopied rigor. Don’t allow that “No” to jam up your thoughts. Re-examine your writing. Take a month off of writing and read a book about writing and 10-15 books in your genre. I guarantee by the end of the month, when you return to your writing, you’ll see areas you can improve. Then get back in the game stronger than ever.
Be what you want to be. Nothing will be different next year unless you make the changes today. The obstacles you must leap are ways to become stronger…not to mention all the fodder for future characters and plots!