Or maybe you haven’t got that far yet. You hate to plan ahead, your datebook is non-existent, and your spouse is sick to death of having to remind you of that important engagement you reluctantly agreed to attend.
Whichever type of person you are, you have dreams, lofty dreams, involving prizes for your writing, tours where you’ll be feted constantly, and maybe including yours becoming the next best-known writer’s name in all the world.
And no amount of visualizing your success, praying for success, or talking about success has done any good. Still, that book is not written, the edit is incomplete, your website is waiting to be developed. You’re sitting in the swing waiting for a push, whether from someone else or from yourself.
Five Ways to Give Yourself a Push
1. Face up to your problem. I know that looking-in-the-mirror stuff is chancy, the older we get, but do it. Figuratively. Recognize where your particular weakness is. Identifying the problem is certainly half the battle. Mine has been in listening to too many suggestions, so much so that I was unable to move forward. What do confused people do? Nothing.
2. Don’t Beat Yourself Up. Seriously. Be kind to that person in the mirror, even though he or she is definitely not perfect. And realize that there are enough other people who will beat you up. Your job is to reward yourself for those things you do well and develop a nurturing attitude toward improving on those things you don’t. For years I kept a spotless house, with a full-time job, a family, lots of outside activities, and charity work thrown in. Now, not so much. But, still, I long for those days when I could be proud of my house. Today it’s clean enough, tidy enough, and comfy enough. I have accepted that cleaning just doesn’t give me joy and I spend my time doing things that do. Mostly I succeed at this.
3. Adopt a Plan to Improve Your Completion Rate. I’m talking about writing here, not cleaning your house, or about any other of the dreams you want to come true. This can be as simple as recognizing the dream, writing it down, planning when you will work on it, whether an hour a day or only ten minutes. If you want to submit short stories to contests, you actually have to have some ready to submit. A good start, then, would be to take out your stories and, one by one, make them as great as you can. Notice the words, one by one. When you start a program to run a marathon, you don’t try to run ten miles the first day. You work up to it. Well, I guess you do as there is no way I’ll be running a marathon any time soon. Writing a marathon, maybe. (NaNoWriMo, anyone?)
4. Find Your Supportive Tribe. Just as it’s hard to exist in a vacuum, writing all alone with no feedback, no I-know-what-you-mean comments coming back, can be lonely. Sure, we writers need our alone time. But we also need to bounce ideas off others, to ask questions about the business, and to enjoy the comfort of conversation from those who are walking the walk with us. LinkedIn groups have provided me with amazing insights from all manner of people. I even like the commenters whose suggestions I would never use for their honesty and the fact that they broaden my thinking. We writers need to have people to question, to commiserate with, and to cheer our successes.
5. Write, Write and Write Some More. Just do it. And just as athletes must practice over and over and over again, so must writers. And then submit, submit, submit. Learn all the other steps of the writing journey: queries, synopses, first drafts, revisions, line edits, full edits, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Consider this your push, then. Don’t be the little boy in the swing waiting for someone to create his pleasure. Kick your legs out front and lean back, with your feet curled beneath you take control, and then lean into the wind once more. Over and over, until you are soaring. As a little girl I loved to pump myself high into the sky on the big swings. The rush was incredible.
Do the work to create that rush.
Consider leaving a comment below as part of your recommitment to your writing or any other dream you’re dreaming.
Coming Soon! A free giveaway of tips for writers!