What Will You Write This Year?
I know that nothing really changed from Tuesday to Wednesday other than the number we write at the end of the date, and yet I can’t help but have a sense that someone flipped a page or wiped the slate clean. Twelve full months, 52 weeks stand before us holding the opportunity to bring to reality what has lurked in the back of our minds as a project for some day.
Why not now? Why not this year?
The challenge is figuring out how to take advantage of this clean slate and reel in this particular someday project that has been out there swimming along with all the others.
The first step is to clearly identify it. Start by writing down what you want to write: a novel, a how-to book, a blog, a steady stream of Tweets, or maybe just an article on a topic that’s been on your mind. Maybe it’s not about finishing a project at all but just about making a commitment to write more or to become a better writer.
Be very specific:
“I want to write a book about how to chase Koala Bears.”
“I want to write an article about how to running in the snow.”
“I want to write a blog about how to cook on a budget.”
“I want to figure out how to write a good joke.”
Next, answer the most urgent question: Why?
Why do you want to write this book, blog or article? This is the most urgent question because the answer will keep you going on it when the going gets tough, which it inevitably will. It is what will drive you to find the time when you don’t want to. It becomes a tether that lets you hold on to the project when life’s other demands would tear it away from you.
Then, describe how you will feel when it’s done. This also gets at defeating our natural tendencies to get distracted by the myriad of other things going on in our lives. Think about how happy you will feel or relieved or excited. Envisioning the end can make it more real and help you to get there.
Now, define the terms of your commitment to this project. What is realistic? Can you finish it this year? What will it take? Maybe you can’t finish it this year, but you can at least get started. Can you write every day? Once a week? An hour a month? Do you want to make a time commitment or a page commitment? Is there background material that you need to find? Do you need to do interviews? What has to happen in order for you to move forward?
This planning process may take some time, but keep in mind that even planning should be counted as progress.
The Excellent Writers Group offers writer coaching services to help authors get started, keep their projects moving and finalize their manuscripts. Contact us to learn more.
Jen, great stuff here. I’ve been thinking about everything you’ve said in this post – and it’s helping. I wrote a few new paragraphs the other day. I love the feeling you get after a writing session – very empowering. I just wish I could write faster.
January 3, 2014