Great news! We can trick ourselves into succeeding at our goals—especially for writing.
Ten suggestions are listed below. Adopt a few and make them rules because we follow our own rules: we lock our doors, brush our teeth, and feed our pets. Then adopt more.
1. BIC… (Butt in Chair).
Oh, how we can avoid that seat behind our keyboard. We clean the pantry, shop online, wash the car, and fold the dirty laundry if desperate enough. Nothing but nothing will happen until you put your bottom in the chair. You can’t edit an empty page. If necessary, use a clock and give yourself a “time in,” not “out.” And no getting sneaky. No re-arranging your desk or making paper clip chains. That’s where Rule #2 comes in.
2.Touch your work-in-progress every day.
Read those last few pages or look for sneaky adverbs. Don’t read what you wrote on your phone unless you create there. The magic happens when we add or edit. On Sunday, touch, pray, and thank God for His provision.
3. Accept that the muse is dead. Ding. Dong. Dead.
In fact, it never existed. The Holy Spirit is our muse. When we think, “I’m not in the mood to write,” we are just re-labeling procrastination. Days that we are inspired to write are bonus days, not the norm. If your undesired mood (anger, grief, etc.), is intense, you may not want to change the tone of your WIP. Instead, write what you are feeling. It could become an article or essay.
4. Watch your thoughts.
As a psychotherapist, I loved teaching that the brain cannot accept a negative. Oh, so you want me to prove it? Okay. Don’t think about a banana. See? Gottcha. Negatives create neurons that program us to fail. Change a negative to a positive. “I won’t procrastinate,” Instead becomes. “I get it done.” A sneaky one is: “I’ll try my hardest.” Try is a failure word. The brain bonds it to fail. Like, Salt/Pepper, Black/White.” Better to say, “I’m giving it my best.”
5. Darts in the dark.
Some of us have an imaginary jack in the box that we think will pop up and tell us when we are ready to enter a contest, write a proposal, make an appointment with an agent, or submit an article. Sorry. He doesn’t exist either. Do it now. You may succeed But, you might. The answer to an unasked question is always no. If you don’t get an acceptance, you could end up with an editor returning your work with suggestions or asking for something different.
6. Become a Weeble Writer.
(Remember, “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down?”) Stephen King, using a borrowed typewriter, was rejected 30 times. Kathryn Stockett saw 60 rejections before acceptance of The Help. Google a list, read one a day. Ah….no spending hours on this. Touch your work remember?
7. Imbed the craft.
Sharpen one writing tip a day. Like: point of view, scene, structure, or dialogue tags. (I could spend every day working on commas.) Even 15 minutes makes a difference.
8. Set goals. Small, measurable, attainable goals.
Write them down with a date. If the bar is too high, we don’t even bother. You want to look back later and say, “Wow. I did that!”
9. Take the lid off.
Watch out for weasel words when you talk about your writing. “I just write…I dabble with …” Your brain is listening! You are telling yourself and others you have limits, discounting and disqualifying yourself. This mindset is putting a lid on your growth. And think of how the Holy Spirit must feel when he gives us a gift, and we discount it for not being large or shiny enough.
10. Let go of outcomes and turn loose.
Before I hit send or mail copies of my novel to a contest or review board, I often sing the words to Billy Joel’s song,” For the Longest Time.” The lyrics, “I don’t care what consequence it brings; I have been a fool for lesser things,” propels me on. Then I celebrate that I have done my best for the Lord’s work.
It’s all I can do. I am a loving servant of the Most High God. He controls the outcome. It’s for Him. I smile and say, “Okay, Lord. Here you go!”
He gave us gifts. We offer them back.
The same way the boy did with his lunch. And that child got to witness Jesus feed 5,000 with two fish and five loaves. Trust that He will use your gifts and talents too. All to glorify His kingdom.
An award-winning author, Deborah’s fascination with character and conflict was the driving force behind her career as a psychotherapist, specializing in work with traumatized, abused, neglected children and serving as an expert witness in the courts. As an award-winning fine artist, her large oil canvases are in the style of photorealism.
Deborah’s first multi-award-winning novel, “The Endling,” includes artists and the art community. Having grown up with the teachings of Native American customs, Deborah’s love for that culture has been lifelong.
She is “home” in the Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachian people, their traditions, values, and way of life are constant inspiration and creativity.