I have seen an increasing number of programs that promote writing a book in a weekend – or writing a book in the month of… causing me to wonder, “Can it really be accomplished?” “If so, what is there that stands in the way of my being able to do so?”
Setting off to challenge myself, I did the 68 page project over a 3-day weekend and felt empowered to write, until I realized this was just the first draft, and much was remaining to be done before I could even begin to consider publishing my efforts! Another shift in attitude and I was able to embrace the fact that even if first draft – I had forged forward and gotten a major chunk of writing done because I was willing to engage in inspired writing.
I know there is a November month-long writing project that occurs on an annual basis and I am considering my participation in that, but I am almost of a mind to host one myself – much earlier in the year – liking the feeling of accomplishment I experienced in that weekend adventure. If any of you are up for this… let me know and I will pursue the idea further!
In the interim, think about what things are getting in your way and get your mind wrapped around why you might procrastinate in getting your own voices in print! I am reminded of John Lennon having once sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” As an author, there is more of a feeling that life is what happens while I try to focus on writing! However, if I am to take personal responsibility for being empowered to write and completing a manuscript, it is necessary to avoid explaining away happenings that are nothing much more than pure procrastination – and accepting that nothing will help me achieve my goal short of sitting down to focus on writing.
Ever the Strategist – I always need a plan! Sometimes that plan comes in the form of inspiration about a process that will help me remain focused; sometimes it is nothing more than a checklist of tips or resources that do the trick. If you are ready to make a shift in your writing and have engage in inspired writing, you will benefit from the following tips:
I Establish an Accountability Factor
Remember the idea about “telling the world” about your plans to breathe life into them or put you in a place of shame if you don’t accomplish them? An easy accountability factor comes into play when writing a book simply by setting a date for when you want to finish your book! The next step is to share your passionate intentions with a trusted friend, family member, coach, mentor or peer who will push you to complete that goal. I have found that a “reward system” works well for me… working with a friend who will tell me to go write five pages, after which we will meet to watch a much desired movie!
II Design a Direction
There are two approaches to writing – letting your creative energies take control and just letting the words flow – taking time afterwards to sort it all out to assess the synergies and the underlying messages. The other is to rely on that sage old process of creating an outline – which for many of my clients seems like the absolute worst idea I could throw out there! I hear the process is rigid and boring, and probably will encumber the flow of creative inspiration which is frequently relied upon by writers.
For me, the process helps define who my intended audience will be and the underlying message I intend to share with them. Making those two decisions prevent my having to stare at a blank page for an hour. If creating an outline really puts you off – try writing a synopsis, use sticky notes to expand your focus, draw a mind map—ANYTHING that will provide you with at least a rough idea of where you’re going with the book. And keep in mind this planning is only to initiate some direction to get your voices in print and it is perfectly fine to go down a new road if things aren’t working out as you intended.
III Embrace Support
One of the things I have realized in my own writing, and in supporting my clients in their writing efforts is that there is no good reason on the face of this earth to feel compelled to work in a vacuum! The more I allow myself to engage with other writers, the more we find ways to inspire each other toward satisfying our goals. During the “write a book in a weekend” project, we stopped for 30 minutes every 6 hours and visited via Skype to discuss what was working and what blocks we needed help with. The process was highly conducive to empowering breakthroughs with all the creative energies of six other writers who were sharing that weekend writing adventure. Not only did we glean creative tips from other writers, we were able to quickly break through and press forward with a newly learned skill that will be able to be applied frequently in the course of our writing careers.
IV Start Writing NOW!
I don’t mean to state the obvious, but … if your intention is to wait for divine inspiration to tap you on the shoulder before you sit down to write – I hate to inform you that you might be waiting forever! One method that works well for me, and for most other writers with whom I have communicated is the discipline of setting aside aside time every day to write…. and then – write! There is no need to wait for perfection, no need to wait for things to be just right, no need to wait until you are sufficiently inspired… JUST WRITE.
V Give Your Writing a Reality Check
Life is not perfect, and without the intention to put your best work out there – neither will your book be perfect. It is an act of courage in which writer’s bare their soul to the process of writing, but to expect it to be your best work with first draft is an act of folly. At some point before submitting your work for publishing, it is critical to submit your work to an experienced and trusted person to edit, critique and help you… yes, re-write those pages until you are satisfied your manuscript will ultimately be a quality, professional book.
Thank you for taking time to delve into this post today; I am confident there will be at least one salient point that will remain in your mind for some time to come. My intention is that you will feel more empowered to write, get your voices in print, learn to engage in inspired writing, and establish systems that allow and encourage you to focus on writing.
Have a great writing week!