Blogger: Mary Keeley
The first quarter of 2013 is behind us. Are you satisfied that your writing is going according to your plan–your hopes–thus far? Perhaps making some early adjustments to what you’re doing will help propel you toward your writing goals this year.
Corporations and organizations generally evaluate their progress at this time. The purpose is to see if the projections that were made months ago during annual budget season appear to be realistic. If the bottom line is ahead of schedule, this is cause for pats on the back and cautious confidence. But if first-quarter reports show results are behind projections, company executives want to identify challenges and correct practices early in the year. This is a good practice for writers to apply too.
I’m referring to the challenges you may be facing with your writing that are slowing your progress. These include functional, administrative factors that shouldn’t be ignored. Writing is a left-brain/right-brain career. While corporations have their creative visionaries on one floor and their number crunchers adn marketers on another floor, authors have to navigate in both realms.
With this mindset, let’s go through a little exercise that you can further expand in more detail on your own. Decide where an adjustment or correction would help you ease frustration and enhance progress toward your publishing goals. Here are three areas to assess:
Organization and time efficiency
How many times in the past three months have you stopped writing to search for a missing file or document? Is your filing system cumbersome? Do you continue to try to write long beyond your brain’s productive limits? Here are suggested adjustments you might make:
- It will save you days in the long run if you spend a few hours now to improve your organization of electronic and paper files. Wendy Lawton gave some helpful tips here:
- Update your address book.
- If you’re like me, your natural inclination is to sit at your computer and plow through a project (or chapter) until it’s completed. But I learned a long time ago that often it’s more time efficient to give your brain a short rest periodically. Step outside for some fresh air; have a refreshing snack; do a few stretching exercises.
- Set time allotments for actual writing, social media, following industry news, and reading author and agency blogs. Don’t deviate from your schedule.
- Start your day with prayer, thanking God for his blessings, giving him governance over your day, and asking for his guidance in what your write.
Time to Write
There’s that word again: TIME. In different seasons of life the demands on your time multiply, but there still are only 24 hours in a day. What gets squeezed out? Writing time. Here are several approaches to adjusting unrealistic expectations that will alleviate mounting frustration for the remainder of the year:
- Make peace with realities that are out of your control. “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Your progress during these times will be in the form of a happier, more content YOU and consequently, a pleasant blessing for your loved ones and friends. And your mind will be free for creativity to flow in moments when you can write. Keep a journal handy to write down quick thoughts and inspirations.
- If you see your writing plans for the year beginning to unravel because of unexpected changes in your life, correct your plan now. Don’t live under the dark cloud of self-imposed deadlines you know you won’t meet.
- Ask your family to gift you with specified times during the week in which you can focus solely on your writing. Watch for special moments when you can gift them in return.
Growing in your craft
Whether you’re new to writing or you are a published author, there always is room for growth in your craft. If this has been your struggle during the first quarter, here are three suggestions:
- Get valued feedback now from critique partners or writing groups like My Book Therapy, rather than putting it off until later in the year.
- Stop and read a book or two that address your craft issue. I listed a number of recommended books here. The time you take away from actual writing to learn and correct problems now is the faster route toward meeting your goals for the year.
- Don’t put off making plans to attend a writers conference this year. If at all possible, get to one. You won’t be sorry. Being in a professional environment with other writers and editors, gleaning industry information from speakers, and attending workshops can reap life-changing benefits. if attendance is out of the question this year, the next best thing is to peruse conference websites and order tapes of sessions that address your problem areas. I listed many 2013 writers conferences here.
These tips aren’t new information for many of you. But addressing them in the context of evaluating progress toward your goals for the year gives them a greater sense of urgency, don’t you think?
Have you noticed something is bogging down your progress? What do you think is your most pressing challenge to your writing goals this year? Did his exercise help you identify steps you need to take to catch up and reach your goals?
Now is a good time to assess your progress toward your writing goals for the year. Click to Tweet.
Taking time now to address problems slowing your writing progress can accelerate your productivity during the remainder of the year. Click to Tweet.
Give yourself a quarterly report. Where is there room for improvement toward your writing goals this year? Click to Tweet.