Friday, January 10, 2014

Great quote

"The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying."
-Steven Pressfield

What are you going to sit down and try this weekend?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Make 2014 Your Best Writing Year Yet!

Happy New Year, everyone! I love the brand-new slate a new year brings. A chance to reflect on where we've come and where we want to go.

Here are some of my goals for 2014:

Writing Goals
1. Establish writing routine. 400 words. Every day. No excuses.
2. Revise thesis manuscript and send to agent.
3. Complete memoir manuscript.
4. Complete 200 pgs of new novel.
5. Write a new one-act play.
6. Write a full-length play.
7. Finish Verna novella & put out as an ebook.
8. Write three blog posts a week.
9. Read at least one short story a week.
10. Read at least 40 books.

Write On! For Literacy Goals
1. Send out a newsletter every other month.
2. Become an official nonprofit organization.
3. Teach a summer writing camp.
4. Teach a winter writing camp.
5. Teach a college essay/app seminar.
6. New ebook of work by young writers.
7. Compile Writing Camp ebook/program
8. Hold a Holiday Book Drive.

I'm inspired by this story shared by Glamour Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive: "When my father-in-law was 58, he volunteered with a group that assists disabled athletes. Fit but no marathoner, he agreed to run the first half of the New York City Marathon tethered to a blind runner who'd flown all the way from Thailand for the race. At mile 13, another volunteer would take over. Except: That other volunteer never showed, and there was my father-in-law, exhausted, with 13 painful miles he'd never trained for ahead of him. 'What did I do?' he recalls now. 'I kept going!' All the way to the finish line -- inspired by the even more heroic efforts of the blind man beside him. I think of that story often, and not just while running. With the right motivation you can almost always go farther, accomplish more, reach higher than you thought."

What motivates you to go farther and reach higher than you thought possible? And how can you stretch that motivation past the sparkling new shine of 2014, into the coming weeks and months?

Here are some habits that work for me, to help keep me motivated:
  • Keep a gratitude journal to remind yourself of all the things going well in your life.
  • Keep a list of all your successes to look over whenever you feel discouraged.
  • Set goals that are based in ACTIONS rather than results. For example, instead of setting a goal to win first place in a writing contest (something you have no control over) set a goal to enter x number of writing contests. Entering contests is an action you can control; the judging process is something you have zero control over.
  • Remind yourself of the "big picture" -- what are the bigger underlying reasons you are going after your goals? For example, maybe you want to write a book this year. Who is the audience you are writing for? How might they be inspired by what you have to say? Imagining a reader picking up your book and being moved by your words can be enough to banish ever the worst case of writers block!  
I'll leave you with this quote, one of my favorites, from Sallie Krawcheck of 85 Broads: "Plant seeds, plant seeds, and don't ask for anything. The seeds will grow." 

What seeds can you plant today?