This writing business is not an easy one. Especially if you are unpublished. Doubts and uncertainty can have you questioning yourself and your writing. Here are four tips for keeping yourself on track and keeping your head in the game.
1. Keep Track of Your Goals. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the little things. Did you finish that chapter? Write 200 words today? Send out 3 query letters? Whatever your goals are – for the day, week or month – write them down and when you’ve met those goals acknowledge it. Do a happy dance. Eat a piece of chocolate. Read a book. Whatever it is, take a moment to say “well done.” We are our own CEOs, CFOs, assistants and mail room clerks. Send yourself a memo, but recognize your achievement in some manner.
2. Tell Your Inner Critic to Shove it. We all have to start with that first word, that first sentence as a writer. It might be good right out of the gate, but for the great majority of us there is a steep learning curve ahead. That’s okay. The more time spent learning and making mistakes the better writers we become. When your inner critic pops up and starts to badger you – tell them to shove it. Draw a picture and put a pin in it. Channel all that bad mojo into a ball and throw a blanket over it. Whatever you need to do – don’t let that buzz-kill pull you down.
3. Take a Class. Not sure if your dialogue is realistic? Does your POV tend to wander? Is “uh-oh” your favorite word and a word find just discovered 38 usages in your first 2 chapters? Take a class. There are any number of wonderful online classes available. RWA lists online chapter workshops under chapter programs. Margie Lawson has a wide variety of wonderful classes available each month at her website. A lot of these classes are affordable, can really help your writing and can be a great way to connect with other writers.
4. Be your own Cheerleader. Writing is a solitary endeavor. It’s important to be your own biggest fan. Believe in yourself. A lot of people talk about writing a book, but you are doing it. Or maybe you’ve already done it. That’s a huge accomplishment in and of itself. Celebrate that. Do you have a favorite sentence or two that you’ve written? Put it somewhere where you can see it. You wrote that. These are your words. That’s pretty darn cool.
Is there something that you do to keep yourself on track?