I’m a big fan of motivational reading. Over the years I have used many books, talks, podcasts, and more, to get me over humps and out of slumps. Now I’d like to share all that has resonated with me, in the hope that, wherever you are on your writing journey, the things I’ve learned might inspire you too.
Each of my Author’s Mindset series has four topics. I suggest you pick one topic and spend some time (at least a week, or as long as you need) mulling over the suggestions, and implementing any new habits you need to propel your writing forward.
Have you read advice from published writers that you MUST write every day to craft a good novel and get the work done? And have you ever made a brilliant plan about how you’ll achieve this, only for life to throw you a curve ball that scatters your best intentions?
If either of these situations has left you worried that you’ll never achieve your writing goals, then take heart, because disruption has been a regular feature of my writing life for the last decade. I signed my first publishing deal when I was pregnant, and since then my writing plans are inevitably disrupted by kids that can’t sleep, babysitting challenges, family illness, computer problems … you get the picture! In addition to this, my deadlines have tightened, because of publishing contracts, and I need to allow time for marketing and publicity, as well as the editing process. At times, I’ve lived on the miserable stress wheel, and without perseverance, and a determination to adapt, my writing would have stalled, and all my stories would still be in my head.
You might have different concerns: a busy job, elderly parents to care for, etc. etc. The result is the same: a struggle to schedule in regular writing time.
Having made it this far, I guarantee that Perseverance is essential for any writer’s mindset. Not only do I need to get past the external challenges before I can sit down and write, I also need to dig in throughout the writing process, as every story throws up its own roadblocks to be negotiated before I can write ‘The End’.
Problems pass, life changes, and as long as you keep your goal in mind you’ll always look for opportunities to push forward. You’ll make things happen as soon as you can. It’s only once you begin to loosen your grasp on your vision, letting it float away as something that’s too hard, that you slip back into everyday life and watch your dreams drift further and further away. Fortunately for all of us, perseverance, like all of the writer’s mindset attributes, can be restored at any time.
ACTION STEPS/THINGS TO CONSIDER
If you need help with perseverance, here are some ideas to help you dig in and re-establish your focus:
Know that every author has an individual way of working, and that they must adapt this to their unique circumstances. For some fortunate souls that may mean a solid few hours of writing each day at a predictable time. But I’m living proof that it’s not that way for everyone, and that you can still get results.
Perseverance is about holding your idea – your goal – your finished novel – steady in your mind, as something that WILL happen, even when you’re not quite sure HOW it’s going to happen. Perseverance is refusing to let go of that vision, no matter what tries to derail you.
When life circumstances do derail you, don’t panic. Hold your goal in your mind, even when you can’t yet see the way forward. Check in with it every day and search for possibilities. You might not have the writing time you want this week, but what time DO you have? What can you reshuffle to make the time? Any plans you can cancel? Do you have someone who can take the kids out for an hour or two?
Remember that a little still counts. One hundred words counts. Half an hour counts. Don’t underestimate what you can achieve in short snatches of time.
Plan and schedule in one hour every day for the next week just to write.
A HELPFUL RESOURCE FOR PERSEVERANCE:
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
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