Thursday, February 28, 2008

Eight Steps to the Writing Life

Fifteen years of writing and listening to people say they want to be a writer has brought me to develop a list of guidelines to help them bring their desire to fruition. There are eight points of consideration and if one were to administer them to their writing life, they may see publication come their way.

1. Pick your primary goal for your writing.
It’s not enough to say, “I want to be a writer” or “I want to be published”. You must decide exactly what you want to write and when you want to do it. Write down a list of goals and when you hope to achieve them. Keep it posted by your computer and refer to it every day.

2. Use your imagination to dream big.
Wishful thinking will get you nowhere if you do not believe you can achieve it, you must be consumed by the flames of desire to accomplish your goals. Be a go-getter not a no-hitter.

3. Expect to suffer from your choices.
We all have a price to pay for success. If you intend to be a writer, you will sacrifice some of your time for writing. If you intend to be a published writer, you will sacrifice the luxury of laziness for deadlines.

4. Focus on the prize.
Keep your mind free of the clutter of negative thinking. If fear, worry, or other blocking thoughts creep in and muddy the waters of your writing goals, develop a plan of action. Fight against mental blocking and negative thoughts by meditating on your potential and how much you want this for your life.

5. Be willing to fail—in order to win.
Just about every person alive who has been published has failed initially. That didn’t deter them however and it shouldn’t you. Rejection is a facet of the trade that we all have to endure. Consider it the fire that will meld you into fine gold. Persistence and perseverance will pay off in the end.

6. Believe in the power of positives.
My mother always told me that the most powerful force on earth was the power of suggestion. I believe she had that right. If we are constantly bombarded with suggestions from well-meaning friends who write or want to write, we may end writing before it has really lived. You have to believe in your own voice, in your particular story, and keep a positive outlook.

7. Don’t tear yourself down.
If you don’t believe in yourself, you will never succeed. Success is measured sometimes by how strongly we believe in our power. Don’t think of yourself as a bad writer, a doomed writer, or even a weak writer. Labels like that destroy our confidence and send us limping to the notebook instead of running and winning the race.

8. Quit making excuses.
Writing is hard work, and it is oftentimes very lonely. No one can do this for us. Have you ever said, “If only I had more time…” or “If only I had more education…”. These sorts of stalling tactics will only keep you out of your writing chair. Examine the reasons for such negativisms and overcome them. If you let excuses rule your writing, your writing will be excused.

A wonderful illustration of writing and working toward writing goals would be:

George Moore, the novelist, was asked by a young man if he recommended that the young man become a novelist. Moore said no.
The young man asked why, since Moore had become one himself. Moore said, “Because I didn’t have to ask.”


Marta Stephens said...

EXCELLENT points! So much crossed my mind. I want to read through your list again before I post another comment. :)

s.w. vaughn said...

I am very impressed. An excellent list.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Amen, Kim. I'm behind you 100% with these. It's all about hard work and staying positive. The fire that fuels our passion must burn hot and pure - no dowsing buckets of water for us!

Marta Stephens said...

Kim, I love that quote by George Moore.

So often we look as someone else's success and assumed it happened over night without considering what that person went through to get to where they are today. For me, belief in self is number one. You're right. No one else cares as much about your goals as you and know one else can do it for you.

Picture the success you want to accomplish in your mind as if it's already happened and work toward it.

This brings to mind another wonderful quote:

"Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible." -- Claude T. Bissell, Canadian author and educator

Karen Harrington said...

A list to be laminated and carried in one's purse or handed out to others. Thanks!

karen harrington

Marta Stephens said...

Absolutely! :)

Sheila Deeth said...

Sounds like a call to open Word again, but I'll read a few more blogs first to inspire me. Thanks.

jennifer said...

Very informative and helpful. I was searching for this information but there are very limited resources. Thank you for providing this information

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