In my last blog ~ Writing-Friendly Spaces I wrote about finding the ideal writing space and how to make the most of the resources you have when the ideal isn’t available. This raised the question of whether life events actually stop us from writing or if we use them as an excuse not to write. Both scenarios can be true, as can a mixture of the two, and I’ll write further about this in later blogs when I tackle Writer’s Block and how we stop ourselves from writing.
For now, I’d like to focus on just one way we hold ourselves back from achieving our writing dreams. We don’t take the time to give ourselves perspective.
We know we want to write. We scribble notes, write drafts of stories and bumble along learning as we go… and, if we’re lucky we may even get something published. But, do we really know where we’re going? Or what our ultimate aim is?
The term ‘Struggling Writer’ usually refers to a person struggling to make a living from writing, but I suggest that it also relates to people who are struggling to live the writer’s lifestyle… working long hours, often in the face of obstacles, and feeling as though they’re grappling in the dark and not getting anywhere.
If we’re honest, we’ve all been there… I certainly have. So, how do we go about pulling ourselves out of this rut?
The answer is to follow a very simple life tenet. If you’re going to construct a sturdy house, you must first lay solid foundations. In the same way, if you want to develop a successful writing career, you need to build a strong base as a springboard for your work.
With the New Year fast approaching, this is a good time to reflect on the past twelve months and consolidate your writing assets ready to make plans that will move your writing forward in 2017.
We all know about setting New Year’s resolutions that peter out after just a few weeks… if they last that long. There are two precautions we can take to significantly reduce the chances of this happening. The first is preparation and the second is to create goals that have the opportunity for success built into them.
Pre = before. Precaution = steps to take beforehand. Prepare = get ready, set up, put in order…
Preparation then, is putting things in order ready for what is to come… that is, getting perspective on what we have to take into the next phase of gaining qualified direction… in this case, in relation to writing.
The three steps I recommend in preparation for setting writing goals are:
- Write a summary of where you sit in relation to writing right now… your experience, courses you’ve attended and the work you’ve written. See Writing Exercise #6 ~ Finding The Writer In You (posted 7th November 2016).
Revisit any previous Writing Goals you may have set, including the most recent. Begin an Achievements List with the goals you have met and then make a separate list of any Outstanding Goals that are still relevant.
Consider what else you want to achieve with your writing and what resources you may need to acquire in order to bring these to fruition. Add these to your Outstanding Goals list – at this stage, your list of goals can be as exhaustive as you want it to be because the items on it will be prioritised, re-shaped and re-ordered in the next step of the goal-setting journey.
By the time you get to the end of this three-step preparation exercise you’ll have your writing journey to date clarified, an achievements list and a long list of what you want to achieve and the resources you may need.
This perspective will be your strong basis on which to create goals that have the opportunity for success built into them… and this will be addressed in my blog between Christmas and New Year – just in time to step into a productive year of writing!
Has goal-setting been your writing friend?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section…
Next Blog ~ Construct Writing Goals That Can Succeed