If you want a quick checklist to complete for your best writing session EVA you can download one here and get access to my library of goodies.
If you want to read another part in the series choose one here:
Being a writer takes guts, a lot of motivation and a lot of hard work and hard work is well, hard. But there are ways to make it easier and that’s what this series is going to be about. I don’t know if you’ve heard of ‘brain-hacking’ but it’s where you take different ideas and different things and use them to make whatever you’re doing, ‘better’. In this case, writing obviously, because this is a writing tips website haha.
We’re going to look at
- How to motivate yourself
- How to have the energy to write
- How to write better prose that flows
You know sometimes you write and the prose is amazing and you’re like.
“O.M.G. I wrote that! How did I do that?”
Let’s look at how you did that. Let’s look at what circumstances lead to that.
Good old social accountability, or as I like to call it, peer pressure. If you’re someone driven by guilt, shame and embarrassment this is for you.
Having a warm, supportive cheerleader to keep you going is beneficial to writing, or really any project you ever invest in. But first you have to be clear on what you actually want. You can’t be wishy-washy about it.
There’s a study that says if you write something down you’re 42% more likely to do it. This is true you guys, I write down every single goal I want to achieve. And I rarely miss the mark. You should see my jumble of notes and bullet points of ‘how to feel like I’m not failing life’ every month. It sounds a little neurotic, but I’m a workaholic who loves to Get. Crap. Done.
Be specific in your goals.
Instead of saying, I want to write a book, say, I want to write 60k words this month.
Why? There’s this buzzword going around in the business world, and probably other genres right now and it’s called, actionable steps. Because we can lucidly tell our own minds what we want, like, “I want to write a book”. Then we procrastinate and call everything we’re doing a part of the process.
And never really get it done.
You need to set concrete, measurable goals. And take concrete actions to take to reach those goals.
Writers forget they are fundamentally business owners. They create a product to sell. And get lost in their creation in a way other business owners tend not to.
I have actionable goals for every aspect of my life and you should too.
Every morning I wake up and my calendar tells me exactly what to do, all I have to do is trust it. Because at the start of the month I set it up and map it out so I hit a specific goal by the end of the month.
For this month it was launching a blog on writing.
Last month it was writing an e-book on how to inspire a story idea you will actually write.
You can get that here…
My worksheet will walk you through this process of discovering actionable steps! You should download it (because I say so, duh) or because it will boost your creativity and writing ten-fold. It has everything from what music to listen to, to how to set up your routine in a quick and easy checklist.
Tell Someone Your Goals, But Also…Don’t
Tell them how awesome you are and the amazing-fantabulous things you will achieve this month. Tweet it, Facebook it, tell your mom, tell someone.
But tell them your actionable steps. Tell them you want to write 60k words.
Don’t make your life solivagent.
BUT DON’T tell them your story idea and pitch it to them.
And before you argue with me here’s why. If you came to us writers, and you tell us your idea, we would fundamentally understand that your pitch doesn’t sum up your story. Because it is missing so much from the equation.
Who are we to say it won’t work?
We can tell you the pitch is working, that’s about it. Without reading the entire manuscript, or at least the first couple of chapters, we really don’t know if we like your story.
The average Joe though, has no idea how to conceive, plot, or write. So they don’t understand that they can’t form an opinion.
At best, they will confuse you by trying to inject strange character ideas disguised as plot. You will hurt their feelings by trying to explain how it wouldn’t work in your story, so you debate adding it in just to keep your friendship.
At worst they will tell you the idea sucks. And you will never explore it; you may even fall down a rabbit hole of self deprecation and pints of ice-cream.
Why would you do that to yourself? For what purpose? Even if they said it was a great idea, you’d question if they said it to be nice.
Not only will it boost your writing because you’ll be bursting to tell it, but you won’t have to fight back anyone else’s doubts.
And you have enough of your own, right? What good writer doesn’t.
Good Sources of Social Accountability
The above explains why NanoWrimo works. You set a measurable goal of 50k words in a month, which allows enough wriggle room to screw up. You write down what your goal is on their website. You wake up every day and measure your progress in front of people.
AND there’s a lot of peer support to boot.
If you’ve never heard of NanoWrimo it’s where writers come together to write 50k words a month (sometimes you set your own goals). They chat in forums, support each other’s writing, and do it every year to partially complete a novel as quickly as possible.
It’s great for writers who need to get over their own fears, or who haven’t learnt that creative writing takes a different mindset than editing.
You write, and write, and don’t care if it comes out crap because, hello? That’s what editing is for.
Here are more websites and groups that offer community:
Want some Facebook groups you can join too? I have a downloadable PDF chocked full of them here
There’s a lot of social accountability you can use. If you’re an introvert or you just despise people, there are still other ways to get social accountability. Join some word sprints in secret like the one on Fridays @ Twitter #writeclub, join NanoWrimo and don’t talk to anyone; soak in the community and try to beat them, mwahahaha.
And my number one tip for social accountability? Add me on Twitter and Tweet me your goals @jeanlanewrites
As a recap if you want to try this at home:
- Use websites & friends for motivation
- Tell someone your actionable goal
- Set measurable goals
What are your next writing goals?
Goal setting and peer pressure is a great kick in the butt. Download my worksheet-checklist here so you can write efficiently, smoothly and at your peak, with some little brain hacks that work.
If you want to read another part in the series choose one here: