Writers only need to write to be a writer.
But the biggest problem writers have is they don’t write.
Usually, this is because they don’t have the time to write.
But we all have the same amount of hours during the day. So the only question is, are you spending your time wisely?
Because where you spend your time is where your priority and commitments lie.
And how you spend your days is ultimately how you spend your life.
So if you are serious about being a writer and getting your book out into the world this year, you will need to make a commitment to write.
You will need to prioritise time spent on writing rather than on other activities.
You could say self-discipline is required to be a writer. However, I believe that you are the person you are right now because of the habits and activities you do today.
Habits dictate your actions which dictate your character.
Whether you will be a writer tomorrow depends on whether you decide to write today.
And the habits of successful writers consist only of these two behaviours repeated consistently on a daily basis:
1. Focused effort on your particular task (writing)
2. Deliberate practise on a consistent basis
And that’s all you need to resolve to do this year to be a writer.
Olympic athletes don’t become Olympic status overnight.
Before they step up to the podium on the Olympic stage, they have put in deliberate, focused effort and practise in numerous competitions over multiple years. The medal only signifies the destination of that particular journey.
Just like a finished book in your hand signals, you have reached an author goal.
But the destination will take care of itself if you focus on putting one step ahead of the other. That is all you need to do.
The book you will eventually hold in your hands is just a culmination of years of putting pen to paper and turning up to the desk daily.
And self-discipline is best cultivated and easier to achieve when you have a set of habits that are conducive to your growth and your goals.
So this year, I am going to implement a set of new habits that will help me to achieve multiple author goals I have for this year:
#1. I will measure the activity rather than focusing exclusively on the end results.
This means showing up daily to my desk, sitting down and writing until I complete my word count or fulfil a significant task that will help me get one step closer to my goal of finishing my book.
If I commit to writing daily, then the book will take care of itself in a few months time.
Focusing exclusively on the result makes me feel overwhelmed. But if I take it a day at a time and commit to writing my minimum word count daily I know the book will write itself.
#2. I am going to write what scares me
Writing outside my comfort zone will enable me to expand and express my creativity. It will also allow me to learn and grow as a writer.
Currently I am writing a non-fiction book; however, I would love to write a creative fiction book.
I have a few ideas but am terrified of the idea of writing a novel. I have no idea where to start!
But right now I’m not going to worry about it.
All I know is that whatever I need I will get at the right time and the right place.
Just for right now I will focus on the book I am currently writing which is my number one writing project today.
#3. I don’t want to take myself seriously as a writer
When I take myself or the work seriously, it stops being fun. And the whole reason why I quit corporate life is because it was not fun!
All I have ever wanted to be is a writer. I am lucky enough to be living this dream right now in this very moment.
And I want to enjoy it.
I don’t want to worry about how I will make money.
I don’t want to worry about how I will hit the bestseller lists.
Because if I follow the above habits, then the end results (published book, best seller status) will take care of itself!
I plan to be doing this for quite a long time, so I want to enjoy the author journey and not just the end destination.
So I’m going to have some fun. This means allowing myself to experiment with different forms and types of writing, following my curiosity and chasing ideas.
I will probably fail at a lit of things. I intend to do this publicly on my blog and learn from it.
There is no failure. There is only feedback.
#4. I will write even when I don’t feel like it
This is the only way I can cultivate a daily writing habit.
When I turn up to my desk daily, fear takes a step back into the darkness. Even if it’s just for the day.
Many writers suffer from fear, uncertainty and self-doubt myself included.
And the only way I can overcome this is to confront the horror of the blank page daily.
I commit to showing up every day without fail.
This is what differentiates amateurs from professionals. A professional is just an amateur who turns up daily and puts in the work. He applies deliberate, conscious effort and practice.
#5. Read like an author.
This means I am going to start reading books from the perspective of the author.
I want to understand how the books are structured, how it flows from one section to another, how characters develop, how the plot unfolds.
By studying the books in this way, I can start to learn more about how to become the writer I want to become.
I love reading and incorporating this different perspective will help me to hone in on my craft and get better as a writer.
#6. Aim for completion rather than perfection
This means committing to complete a task that I started and not leaving it open midway or leaving it hanging for weeks or months (which I tend to do a lot).
This means I need to stay committed through the tough bits of writing and not abandoning projects half-way when the going gets tough.
This means getting through various editing phases (which I am currently struggling with) until I arrive at the final manuscript ready for publish.
#7. Focus on asset creation first
This means making sure I’m spending my time where it matters; the writing must always come first.
This includes putting strict time limits on activities that don’t build my assets for the long-term, i.e., social media time suck.
Granted social media is a part of marketing, but on its own, it won’t build my author business. Only writing more books and creating more content will drive my author business forward.
Social media is just a tool or tactic to get me from A to B for a short transitory period. Only my books will stand the test of time and create a longer lasting impact.
A book is something I can hold in my hands and which will form part of my intellectual property assets in the long-term.
#8. Meeting other writers
I am new on this author-journey, and I think it’s important to build a community or join your tribe so that you learn from each other and can support one another.
So this year I intend to join ALLI which is the Alliance of Independent Authors.
The writing journey can be lonely unless you have friends to support you along with the way.
What habits do you resolve to start this year? I invite you to share them below.