Sunday, January 1, 2012

5 Reasons You Haven't Written a Book--and 10 Steps to Help You Get It Done

Is writing a book one of your New Year's resolutions?

What's stopping you?

A member of our local Mystery Writers of America chapter said to me, "I would write, if I knew I was any good. I mean, I'm just waiting for someone to read my stuff and tell me I've got talent."

Are you waiting for someone to give you the green light?

A former journalist told me, "I started writing a novel, but then I kind of got side-tracked."

Are you piddling around and wasting your time on other projects when you should be writing?

A young lady I met at a bookstore told me, "I have five or six half-written novels in my desk at home. I just haven't finished any of them."

Are you always chasing a new idea rather than working through an "old" one and seeing it to completion?

A friend told me that he's stopped to outline his book once again.

Are you so busy planning your book that you haven't gotten around to writing it?

Another friend is involved with a critique group. They meet every other week. "We do more yakking than critiquing," she admitted to me.

Are you spending more time socializing and discussing your work than actually writing?

There are a thousand roads to failure, and only one road to success: Just do it.

Let me break that down:

1. Make your writing your top priority.

2. Structure an environment that supports your goal.

3. Resist time-wasters.

4. Eschew negativity.

5. Be rigorously honest with yourself.

6. Measure your progress.

7. Be accountable.

8. Take one step in the right direction every day.

9. Invest in your education. (Buy books, take classes, pay for an editor.)

10. Listen to experts, but trust your gut.

And remember, we all started from a place of fear and doubt. Success begins when you move past that spot.


Linda O. Johnston said...

Excellent post, Joanna. Now, everyone out there reading this who wants to write in 2012 but has been procrastinating till now: Just do it!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Amen, Blog Sister!

Monica Ferris said...

Well said. I read a comment earlier today about writing. It was, ". . . put your @ss in the seat and write."

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Monica, I call that the "writing ready position." Butt in the chair, hands on the keyboard. If you're in any other position, you aren't getting the job done!

Harvee said...

Good advice. Now if only we would take it!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Harvee, did you think I was writing this for you? Nope. I was reminding MYSELF of all these things. It's hard advice to take, isn't it?

Maddy said...

Thank you. I think number 4 is the most relevant for me. I listened to a whole programme on the radio [actually addressed to self employed women but equally as applicable to writers] and the loud clarion of doubt in the back of our minds, there again, it was the BBC rather than my most optimistic American pals.

Betty Hechtman said...

Great ideas, Joanna. Monica's comment gets right to the point.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Negativity is a waste of time, energy and talent. The easiest thing in the word is to say, "No," or "It can't happen" or "You've done that wrong." You see, there's nothing at risk for the negater. And positive people put themselves and their work at risk every day. But here's another secret: Negativity kills. It smothers your spirit, your drive, and your talent. So between feeling a little uncomfortable once in a while and dying...I chose putting myself out there and feeling the sting of failure from time to time.