Maybe you called them goals, objectives or intentions and prioritized them in order on a laminated sheet of paper. Maybe you didn’t call them anything special at all, or even bother to write them down. Regardless, here it is June, and…
What have you done for your writing lately?
Warning! This is Not an Exercise in Shame
I’ve heard from hundreds of you about your writing struggles. I see firsthand that writers are too hard on ourselves. I didn’t publish this post to sanction you to criticize yourself for being too…lazy, untalented, stupid, or whatever derogatory term you use to chastise yourself.
If you’re not where you want to be with your writing — no worries. We’ll talk about how to begin again. You don’t have to wait for a new month to roll around, the next January 1st, or even tomorrow.
3 Ways to Get Back on Track
Yes, this year is halfway over. There’s nothing we can do about that, it’s gone forever, but there’s still six more months of promise ahead. Let’s make the most of it. Remember, this isn’t a contest to see who publishes first. Especially, if you’re tackling something BIG like writing a novel, building an author platform, making a living from your writing (whether it’s fiction or nonfiction), it takes t-i-m-e.
If your writing isn’t where you want it to be, try something different:
1. Assess your writing obstacles – No blaming or shaming, just appraise what’s holding you back. If you’re procrastinating instead of writing, that’s one thing. But, if your mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and you can barely function, then that’s another. Maybe you are writing everyday (like me), but you’re also goofing off on the Internet 15-20 minutes each time (like me). That’s 7.5 hours I’m wasting each month and that matters.
Maybe you’re avoiding your computer because you’re scared to death everything you write will suck and nobody would ever want to read it. Join the club. Doubt seems to be the #1 qualification to be a writer. So, doubt yourself and write anyway. You’re certainly not going to improve if you don’t practice, so go for it. Not everyone will like your work, but you will find your audience if you keep trying.
2. Take smallER steps – Stop thinking so all, or nothing. If you told yourself you’d write a full 60 minutes or 1,000 words each writing session, then lower your expectations. Cut way back. Make it 15 minutes or 250 words per session. Life moves fast, people. With writing, some is better than none. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Make small steps your new, best friend.
3. Get an attitude adjustment – Negativity does nothing to improve your writing. It’s a bad habit many of you need to break. Practice praising yourself for whatever writing you do accomplish, then try to improve your weak points. Nobody likes a bully.
Marcy’s Midyear Writing Review
This entire post came about because I wanted to check in on what I’d written down to accomplish this year. Sort of a midyear review. Yes, it would’ve been great if I’d done this back in April at the first of the quarter, rather than the end, but guess what? I didn’t think of it then.
In my 20 years of writing, I’ve had times where I had very specific goals:
Write 1,000 words EVERYDAY!
Find a literary agent!
Those were too narrow for me and felt abusive when I didn’t accomplish them, even though I wrote everyday and tried my very, very best.
This year, I decided to keep my writing intentions both broad and simple:
√ 1. Make a decision regarding publishing Pennies from Burger Heaven (continue traditional route, or self-publish).
STATUS: Done! I’m gong indie, but I want to complete book #2 in the series before I publish #1.
2. Read at least 24 books.
STATUS: Doing it. I’ve only read 6 books to date, so I should get on this one.
3. Possibly publish Creative Monsters – Unmask Your Fears to Slay Them and Win the Battle to Write.
STATUS: Tabled. I still want to publish my book for writers, but publishing my novels is more important. Creative Monsters will have to wait.
√ 4. Continue to be nicer to myself on the journey to publication.
STATUS: Doing! Starting Mudpie Writing and connecting with all of you has shown me that belittling, berating and ridiculing ourselves serves no positive purpose.
That’s two out of four intentions already accomplished. Since I’ve tabled #3, it’s two out three, done so I’m already at 75%. I’m a happy girl! My plan is to stop whining I don’t have more time to write, and to better utilize what time I do have (and stay off the Internet!).
How about you?