Wow! Now that’s a big promise, right? But, really, this simple technique works wonders. It’s going to sound too simple, but trust me, it is great IF you use it.
I have writers lament to me all the time that the tasks of writing or revising or marketing their book is just overwhelming. Well, yes, all those are huge tasks. No wonder you feel overwhelmed. You should! But there is a way around it.
Where’s The Reward NOW?
Add to that the fact that writing (and its sundry tasks) is a lonely business. There is no co-worker to give you a high-five when you figure out the plot problem. No boss to give you an “atta boy” when you get your title polished. No gold star on your forehead for that day’s words written. Every step along the way you are ignored by the world at large.
Where Am I Going and How Do I Get There?
One of the biggest problems is that there are so darned many steps to writing or revising or marketing—let alone all three! So we get overwhelmed with the process itself. And there are lots of people shouting at us to “do it this way” or “no, not THAT way?” that it gets confusing. But a learning process is a, well, process. It doesn’t come easily for most. I’ve had a few who just “get it” instantly when I edit for them and point out weaknesses in their writing, but they are few. It takes explanations and some writing back and forth before the light comes on, which is fine.
And it takes searching and deduction to figure out which approach works best for you.
And WHEN Will I Get There?
Then there is timing: if you can’t return to your project every day, you lose track of where you were and what you were trying to accomplish. And life has a way of delaying us more than we like—meaning gaps in time in our writing. I’ll bet you explain to your children all the time that it takes practice to get things right. So, part of any writers problem is—and always will be—the issue of time.
The 1-Step Solution
So, all that said, what you just need is a printed out, concise and focused game plan. Yep, a list. You know the steps it will take to get what you want done, so write them down in a brief list. The mechanics of how you’ll do each one will fluctuate, so just “Plot how Meg solves the murder” or “Review descriptions for continuity” is enough explanation for the list. Make your game plan ONLY for writing or ONLY revising or ONLY marketing. The list will be long enough to keep you rolling but not so long that the mind balks when your eyes pass over it.
Here is why this extremely simple–and totally FREE–little thing will work wonders:
FOCUS: Whenever you DO have the time to write, you go to that printed-out plan, see where you last made a check mark, and get right into doing the next item on the list. As simple as that sounds, I know accomplishing each step still means lots of work. And some items on the list might take several sessions to do. But … you don’t check it off until it is completed, then plunge to the next.
REWARD: Just a checklist like that can BOTH focus your efforts clearly (making your time more productive) AND give you the sense of accomplishment that every single human with a long-term project needs to have.
In fact, let’s not use a check mark–buy a gold magic marker and give yourself a gold star for each “Done!” item. You deserve it.