Finding Focus As A Writer
“Like anything else that happens on its own, the act of writing is beyond currency. Money is great stuff to have, but when it comes to the act of creation, the best thing is not to think of money too much. It constipates the whole process.”
I am a big believer in visualizing success. I am a big believer in humongous dreams. I know exactly what I want to achieve with my writing. I can see it, I can feel it, I can taste it, smell it and hear it.
I can’t help it, folks; I’m a teacher and always will be. You can take the teacher out of the classroom but you can never take the classroom out of the teacher. I observe others. I hear their comments, watch their actions, and immediately my mind shifts into teacher-mode and I spring into action.
This is me springing.
Can you visualize success as a writer? Can you even define what that success looks like? All too often I notice writers who appear to be human tornadoes: there is a whole lot of activity around them but nothing constructive comes of it.
If you are a writer who simply writes because of your passion for writing, then your success happens every single day that you write. However, if you have bigger fish to fry, then you really need to sit down and figure out what it is you want from your writing. Once you have done that then you can begin to devise a plan to achieve it.
So here I am ready to teach again.
I’m going to give you a little blueprint to follow. Consider it an exercise sheet that I want you to fill out. Answer all the questions that I pose. No cheating and no shortcuts. Once you have done that, I think you will have a clearer idea of what it is you want, and in turn how to make your dreams realities.
I’m ready; how about you?
A BIT OF THE GESTALT FOR YOU
When you sit down to write, what is your intention? What kind of experience do you want to have? Do you want to have an inspired experience? Do you want a meditative or reflective experience? Do you want to become energized, or do you want writing to relax you?
DOES ANYBODY REALLY KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS?
How many hours do you want to write every week? Let’s word it a bit differently: how many hours do you plan to spend writing every week? In an ideal world, what number of writing hours would happen?
WHAT RESULTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
What do you want to accomplish with your writing? How much work do you want to produce daily? Weekly? Monthly? What do you plan on doing with your finished work? Are you going to post it online on your own blog, or will you be submitting to magazines? Or will you simply file it away for only you to see?
SPELL SUCCESS FOR ME
What does success in writing look like to you? Do you want to be published? How often? Are you looking for monetary rewards? How much? Are you looking to win awards? How many?
WHAT DOES A WRITING LIFESTYLE LOOK LIKE?
What do you want your writing life to look like? What do you want it to feel like? Envision the perfect writing lifestyle. This is an individual exercise and it will be different for every writer.
DO YOU WANT A SENSE OF COMMUNITY?
Think in terms of a writing society. Who do you need to know to be successful? What forum do you need to belong to? Who are your contacts and who are your peers?
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR BALANCE?
There are families to consider. There are jobs to consider. There are other priorities to consider. How do you find a balance with all of those and still write? You need to sleep, you need to eat and you need to spend time enjoying life; how do you fit writing into that mix?
Let’s Take a Look at a Writing Day
A hypothetical look at a normal day if you will. You have to sleep, right? So let’s say you sleep, on average, seven hours each night. Okay, what else do you do? Do you have a full-time job? If so you are looking at eight hours there and one hour for commute and preparation.
Now what about your family? If you have a family, how many hours do you want to spend with them daily? Let’s say four hours in this example. Adding those priorities together we see twenty hours of each day already spoken for; that leaves you four hours to devote to writing…but wait! How about “me time”….you need one hour at least just to relax, right?
Break your day down like that for a realistic look at your writing life. When you can finally commit to a block of time for writing then actually commit to it.
Very practical advice
Are You Being Productive?
What exactly does a productive writing day look like for you? There are so many ways to define productivity, aren’t there, so this one is subjective as well.
For some, writing one chapter is a productive day. For others, writing an article is productive. For others still, doing research is productive or contacting agents or conversing with other writers. There is a misconception that if a writer is not writing it then is a wasted day. That is nonsense of course. Writing is so much more than actually writing. We have a platform to build and contacts to make; we have exercises to do and brainstorming.
Define productivity and then find ways to make it happen.
Build that platform
- How To Build Your Writing Platform In Ten Steps
More useful suggestions to help you gain an audience and improve your writing resume.
Begin Building Your Platform
I have written about this before so I won’t say much about it now. To the right you will find my article on building your platform. Basically, your writing platform is your entire body of work; it is who you are as a writer. If you plan on being commercially successful in writing you will need a platform.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
You are not perfect so accept that fact and move on. You will make mistakes. There will be times when you feel like a failure. There will even be times when loved ones fail to support you.
Keep moving forward. If you love writing then you will write despite all of the adversity. If words flow through your veins then no matter what the obstacles may be you will find a way.
Join me on my writing blog
- Artistry With Words | A topnotch WordPress.com site
A site for writers with tips, suggestions, discussions, contests and a whole lot more
Now We Have Something to Work With
I’ll tell you a secret right now: there are days when I wish I just wrote for my own satisfaction rather than chasing the elusive publishing contract. It is exhausting trying to become a financially successful writer. There are always contacts to be made. I need to be thinking constantly about my platform, and making choices based on time and money. The days I truly enjoy the most are those days when I can set all of that aside and just write. Those are the days when I remember why it was I became a writer in the first place…..because I have a passion and hunger for writing.
I wish you well on your journey. Never lose sight of your passion. Visualize success and then go for it.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”