Today we’re finishing our four-part series designed to get you on track for the writing career and life you want.
In today’s exercise, we’re going to tie it all together and get you moving towards “going pro” – whatever that specifically means for you.
Whether you want writing to be your full time career or you just want to consistently finish your own personal projects, this exercise will move you forward.
A quick announcement before the exercise
If you like what you’ve been seeing in these exercises, there’s even more in store for you inside Design Your Writing Life – my complete guide to custom-creating the writing life and writing career you’ve always wanted.
For the next few days (through Tuesday, May 13th), the Design Your Writing Life home-study course will be available at a special launch discount of 40% off – and you can find all the details about what’s inside right here.
Now, on to the exercise!
Exercise #4 – Write down your “next steps” for making your writing life a reality
You already have a vision in your head about what your “writing life” looks like – what kinds of events, activities, and environments will be present in your life when you’re working on and completing your creative works.
However, as long as it’s just a vision, it can’t become real. And what can so often hold you back is when that picture in your mind is just blurry enough that you don’t have a sense of how to create it.
After all, you can only hit a target you can see.
So today we’re going to sharpen your focus so you can clearly identify some of the next steps that have to happen to take your writing life from vision to reality.
Here’s what we’ll have you do:
- First, think of the next creative project you want to complete and define its closest concrete milestone. If you already have a project in the works, what’s the next checkpoint you have to get to? Is it a completed outline, or a list of major characters, or just getting to the end of the next chapter? Is it hitting a particularly meaningful word count? We’re looking for the closest, most easily attainable thing you can check off the proverbial checklist.
- Next, write down what it will take to reach that milestone as quickly and efficiently as possible. Maybe it’s to guesstimate how long the task will take. Maybe it’s to make a list of the steps remaining to reach that completion point. Maybe it’s creating a folder on your computer with a blank document for each character in your book, or a folder for each chapter so you can keep them organized and separate. Maybe it’s getting a tool like Dropbox to allow you to do your writing from multiple devices.
- Finally, carve out time to reach your milestone by putting it on your calendar. It’s so easy to get distracted from writing – whether it’s by doing “research” on the internet, clicking around on inspirational blogs, or thinking about all the decisions you might have to make for future milestones that you aren’t in a position to act on today. But your next step is the milestone closest to you now. So be 100% clear on what it will take to get there, and put it on your calendar, even if you’re “just” blocking out 15 minute increments of time every day for the next week. Bit by bit, you WILL get there.
Don’t overcomplicate this – just think of your next milestone, the very simple things you’ll need to do to get there, and set those as the “next steps” you put onto your calendar.
Here’s why this works so well at making your writing dreams become your daily reality
Writing gets done – and done consistently – when you put one foot in front of the other and you have a concrete goal to work towards.
If you don’t have that “next” concrete goal, you’ll be pulled in a hundred different directions and you won’t make the forward progress that builds your writing life from the ground up.
Remember what we said in the other exercises – every time you start with a small step, it lets you fly in under the radar of resistance, and that small step grows organically until it becomes a larger and larger force.
Just taking those first small steps is what gets you taking larger and larger ones, and soon you’ll be writing more each day, writing more easily, and getting more of your writing projects done.
If you’ve enjoyed these exercises so far, take a look at what else you’ll find in Design Your Writing Life!
From now until Tuesday, May 13th, you can get Design Your Writing Life at a 40% discount by clicking here.
What you’ve seen in this series are just a small sample of the steps, planning exercises, and activities that will help you make the shift from “trying to write” to “becoming a writer.” There’s so much more on the inside, and I’d love you to see all the details while it’s available at this special savings.
Everything you need to know is here – and I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned over the years (and what I’ve taught others over my career) with you today.