Social Media Tips & Blog

Finding Why (#6 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)

#6 of 6 tools to get you writing instead of whimpering in the fetal position on the closet floor.

It's easy to lose track of why you wanted to be a writer in the first place. If you have vague dreams of fame or fortune, those won't keep you going, especially when they don't materialize quickly.

While we'd all love to be rich and famous, I don't think that's why you write. It's not why I write.

I write because I love the feel of words. I write because I have feelings which are clarified only when I find words to put them in. I have ideas which might benefit others. I have questions.

I believe writing takes the vague, wandering abstracts out of my head and makes them clear, understandable things I can look at and play with. I believe it helps me decide whether they should remain part of my life or be forgotten in the drawer.

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SMART Goals (#5 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)

#5 of 6 tools to get you writing instead of whimpering in the fetal position on the closet floor.

If you don't know where you're going, not only will it be harder to get there, you may not know you've arrived.

Business folk all know about SMART goals. They know you never begin something without those SMART goals.

A simple Google search will provide endless results, including the fact that everyone has their own version. I'll provide a brief review here using the version I like best.

Goals should be:

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Prewriting (#4 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)

#4 of 6 tools to get you writing instead of whimpering in the fetal position on the closet floor.

Another mistake we make is to assume that what flows from our pen must be finished product. Logically, we know this makes no sense. There's always a bit of re-writing before the proofreading and editing. We would never expect others to deliver perfection without practice.

Whether it's the next chapter in your novel or a page of marketing copy for your website, it can help to sit down and intentionally scribble the ugliest, roughest draft you can imagine. Make it your plan to write something so simple, so messy, so basic, so ugly, that you can't possibly use it. This is just a note to yourself about what you're planning to think about considering writing.

This is much like the trick I use to get myself to do household chores. If a picture needs hanging, next time I see the hammer I lay it on the floor where the picture is to be hung. Then when I run across the box of nails, I set that in place. If the picture needs a hanger attached to it, that goes in the pile as well. Eventually I walk past, look at this instant picture hanging kit sitting on the floor, and realize that it will take almost no effort to finish the task. It gets done.

The hardest part about writing is writing. Not the polishing, the formatting, the editing. Just starting. Just putting down the few words that say what we really mean.

Prewriting is a way to start ugly and simple and just get something down on paper.

Once the task is started, sometimes the compulsion to continue is overwhelming.

That's okay too.

Up next: SMART Goals

Timer (#3 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)

#3 of 6 tools to get you writing instead of whimpering in the fetal position on the closet floor.

Being passionate souls, writers have a tendency to over promise, over commit and just plain try too hard.

When facing a challenging task, it's human nature to try to swallow the elephant in one gulp. Every "getting things done" specialist in the world tells us that's wrong — and yet we persist. If you want a jump start on eating the elephant, start with one tiny bite.

If you're 12 years behind on your book, it's easy to assume that it will take four hours a day for the next 10 years to catch up. And what happens is you spend four hours a day worrying about writing and zero hours a day doing it. If you missed yesterday's post on habits and rituals go back and read it. Then we'll talk about why a 5-minute timer is such a great habit-building tool.

This all-or-nothing perspective makes habit-building a real challenge. … more … "Timer (#3 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)"

Schedule (#2 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)

#2 of 6 tools to get you writing instead of whimpering in the fetal position on the closet floor.

Every February thousands of songwriters converge on February Writing Album Month. FAWM founder Burr Settles lives by the Jack London quote which has always been part of FAWM culture: "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."

To many artists it seems nonsensical to sit down and intentionally crank out 14 songs in 28 days.

That's not creativity; that's just work. they say.

Seven years of participation taught me otherwise.

… more … "Schedule (#2 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)"