Off You Go!
There’s an old joke about one party guest asking another what they’re working on at the moment. “Writing a book,” comes the reply. “Neither am I,” says the first guest.
Don’t be like that. Make sure you write something every single day, even if it’s only making notes. You’ve got all the talent you need to get started. You’re happy you’ve chosen the right genre. You know your characters by name, and you’ve created a potted history for the central players in your drama.
Set yourself a target for the number of words you’ll write. If you don’t have time to make inroads in your major work in progress, try something smaller. Write letter to the local paper about a subject that matters to you. Magazines publish letters and anecdotes for readers. They also offer an outlet for short stories. Study each publication individually, to make sure you know exactly what they want, and the type of stories they publish. Send them something of the right length which shows you’ve paid attention to their requirements, and it increases your chances of your work being accepted.
Give yourself a target. Aim high, and use S.M.A.R.T goals to help you—that acronym means they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-limited. “I’m going to write a 60,000 word historical romance by 31st December this year” is the type of detailed ambition I’m talking about, which will set you on the path to success.
Put your ambition in writing, and display it somewhere you and other people can see it. That way, you won’t be able to back out!
Work out how many words you’ll need to write each day to hit your target, then do at least that amount of work during every writing session. Use every trick you can think of to keep yourself motivated. Give yourself little rewards for completing your daily word count. If you’re having trouble making the grade, invent a forfeit such as no fries or cake until the work’s done (that works well for me). Find a writing partner to encourage you when things get tough. Then you can cheer them on, when they need encouragement.
Make sure your mind is trained on your ultimate prize, whether that’s writing a book, a short story or a magazine article. Wanting to write isn’t enough. You must believe with all your heart you can finish your project. You’ll need that belief to get through the hours of research, writing, re-writing, and the inevitable rejections, which hit us all from time to time.
You know you can do it. Now all you have to do is prove it – to me, and everyone else. Go on. Start writing today.
I dare you!