Creating the Writer's Life, Part 3

We've talked about Intention... Now lets talk ACTION!
But before we do that, I want to talk about those questions that I asked yesterday. Remember those?

What is it that you want?
What is it that you need?
What are the things that are standing in the way of your wants?
What can you do to get what you need?

I wanted to know what your deepest desires where and what was standing in the way of the Writer's Life that you want.

Now I want to know what you are willing to do to work toward those dreams?

Honest now... are you truly willing to give up that extra sleep time in order to write? Do you give up those mocha lattes so that you can go to conference and learn more about your craft, possibly putting yourself in front of an editor or agent? And are you willing to do the hard work that needs to be done in order to finish a book. I'm not talking about merely getting to the end, but doing all the hard work that happens after you enter that last page into the computer.

I've said this before, I worked seven years of 3-11 in retail. Most of it had to do with not paying a sitter for my son. But the honest part of me will say that I also did it because it gave me more time to write. It wasn't easy. Anyone who has tried writing with small children under foot will tell you that it can be damned near impossible at times. But you do what you have to do.

Short story time: During the time that my son was small and I was working nights I found that the National conference was going to be in New Orleans and I desperately wanted to go. But we didn't have the extra money. I took a part time job stripping wall paper so that I could afford it. If you've ever stripped wallpaper then you know that was a sacrifice. Did I go to conference? Yes, and it was an incredible opportunity. I took a group appointment with an editor because it was the only thing available. This was not the most ideal situation, but it happened to work in my favor when the other two in my group editor meeting showed up unprepared. When she turned to me and asked me whether I had a finished book I could say honestly that I did. The book didn't sell to her, but it did sell eventually. The thing is... if you push yourself and take chances then you get the opportunities and the growth that comes from them.

So... where was I? Action?

Action requires motion or activity... an implementation of a plan.

I took a great workshop through . They have some wonderful workshops that I highly recommend. But in this particular workshop they asked us to write up a bio of ourselves once we had gotten to the point in our career where we considered ourselves successful. Now, I'm not sure that was the exact assignment. I've taken the course twice and it could have changed. But I think it's an important place to start. So... go ahead... write that bio for yourself. Have fun with it. Want to earn enough to have that beach house in Maui? Striving to be continually on the top of the NYT best sellers list? Put your dreams into that bio?

Got it? Good.

Now comes the hard stuff. We are good to plan the activity behind the dreams. Goals, people... I'm talking goals. And it is not a dirty word. Want to treat yourself as a professional and be regarded as a professional? Well, that includes having a business plan to work from... goals for your company. An investment in the dream.

If your ultimate dream is to be a New York Times Bestseller then we need a road map to get there. What have you got to do to achieve that dream? What is the action required? Think big. Don't limit yourself. Dream the possible.

More questions:
Where do you want to be in:
1 year:
5 years:
10 years:

If your goals is that best seller status then where do you expect yourself to be in your career in 1 year? Finish a book? Have a book under contract? What action is required to meet that goal?

1. Finish a book? This requires that you set a goal of writing a certain amount of pages. Keep a list of work accomplished. I keep an Excel sheet that I think I got from the workshop. It's helpful in that not only do I see what I've accomplished, but I see what I don't accomplish. Spend the time to break it down. Not a plotter? That doesn't mean that you can't or shouldn't set goals for yourself.

2. Have a book under contract? Well, usually that requires that you take action on #1. But there are some that have managed it without writing the book first. For me, I've never sold a book that wasn't already finished. I don't like the pressure that it puts on me. Now that the book is done do you know where you want to submit? Research publishers and agents? Don't want an agent? Fine, but make sure that you make yourself as knowledgeable as possible when it comes to dealing with things like contracts, etc.

I'm going to leave the rest of this up to you. Remember that you can't have a goal without an action. Intention with action is only a dream that's dead in the water...

Question for the day: What action did you take today to work toward your goals?

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