Welcome back to the Make 2015 Your Year to Write series.
If you're just joining us, here's what we've been up to: In our we began with part one, on reflecting on your writing life so far, then in part two looked at your patterns, challenges, and insights, and in part three began tapping in to what you want for your writing life.
Today in part four, we'll look at how to close the gap between where you are right now and where you want to end up so you can start making real plans for how to get there.
Remember, if you have questions, thoughts, challenges, comments, or problems, I'm your coach this week! Just post them in the comments section on the blog and I'll be sure to address or answer them for you. (And if you're joining us "late" in this process, not to worry, just jump in, the water's fine. :) )
On to part four!
Examine the gap in your writing life
Whenever we have a goal we want to meet or a place we want to end up, there is a certain amount of distance between now and then, or here and there.
Since we spent some time looking at where you want to GO in our part three work, now we can take a clearer look at what's currently in the way of you getting there.
For instance, you might be bumping into a whole variety of obstacles like:
- Being too busy or not having enough time to write
- Having too many other obligations with work and family
- Dealing with the kinds of creative or life challenges we talked about in part two
- Trying to "find" time to write instead of making it happen
- Getting caught up in other people's needs or drama
But you might also be need to make changes about the way you are approaching your writing life.
You might right now be:
- Not setting strong boundaries to protect your writing time
- Not making writing one of your topmost priorities (It really needs to be in the top 3 to 5 to become a reality.)
- Thinking about your writing in a negative way
- Creating fantasies about what you need to write instead of just writing
- Constantly debating about "IF" you are going to write each day instead of being clear about "WHEN"
When we look closely at these we can see that some of these are things we need to remove from our writing lives, while others might be things that we can add. Both would have a positive result in our ability to write more, or consistently.
So think about what you've learned from the last few days of exploration and then answer these questions:
1. What do you want to remove from your writing life?
When you think about things you might want to remove from your writing life to make it flow more easily, what comes to mind?
For instance, you might notice that you feel ready to let go of:
- Extra obligations that have outworn their welcome, like the volunteer job that's not fulfilling anymore, or social commitments you don't feel nurtured by
- Limiting beliefs about your ability to write
- Outdated relationships with people who don't hold your writing in high esteem
- Excuses and stories about why you can't write
- Unprofessional writing relationships and groups
- Writing projects that have outworn their welcome
- Bad writing habits like perfectionism or binge-writing
2. What do you want to add to your writing life?
On the other hand, sometimes the gap can be closed when you start adding things in to your writing life, like:
- A regular, daily writing practice
- Boundaries that teach people to respect your writing time
- Urgency and deadlines so you feel motivated to write daily and to finish projects consistently
- A writing schedule, as in, on an actual calendar with actual times where you will show up and write
- Accountability and support from people who know how much writing means to you and help you show up and actually do it
- A writing community of friends who believe in you and support you to make it happen, day in and day out
- A special place to write in your home, your office, or elsewhere
- Making a life decision to treat your writing professionally
- The proper tools and training
Again, there are no right answers here, only what fits best for you. Take some time with the writing prompts today to see what no longer fits for you and what might be a welcome change.
Here are some responses from my Writer's Circle members:
From Helen, a Writer's Circle member:
"This year, I added what I wanted to add: A positive, loving, caring support group that positively encourages my progress. This is your Writer's Circle coaching group, Jenna. What I wish to remove is the negativity that comes from my current academic environment. Constant negative criticism and nagging do little to motivate me; on the contrary, they usually block my creativity and desire to write."
From Sonya, another Writer's Circle member:
"I’ve spent the last year in Jenna’s coaching and writing circle. I chose to do it after listening to her four-session course, 'Design Your Writing Life'. It inspired me to get my writing act together, so to speak. I had been writing sporadically for my own blog, without a real purpose other than to share information and practical advice. I wanted to get more consistent about writing and find a more sustainable writing habit.
"Over the year, I have written a lot more, and a lot more consistently but it has still been what I call sporadic. I’d like to remove this sporadic behavior from my life. I’d like to get into an even more consistent, regular writing habit. I’d like to add writing time that is sacred. I have not been holding writing time sacred. I have been running it over with a Mack truck on a regular basis. That needs to stop. I need to be more consistent and sit down and write, every day, no matter what. No matter for how long.
"I have this unrealistic picture in the back of my mind of having a tiny house in my back yard and having it totally devoted to my own creativity (really, a room of one’s own), for writing, music, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking, photography. It’s about a $10K investment to do this through a friend’s company who makes them. I don’t have an extra $10K lying around to use for this purpose so I currently tend to sit at the kitchen table or on the couch to write. I know I should find a writing space in my home and write in that spot consistently. But to date, I haven’t been able to get comfortable in any space to write consistently.
"I also don’t like to write when others are around so I tend to do other things when I have my kids (every other week). All of these things feel like excuses, one after another. I need to stop making excuses and just do the writing.
"I guess what it comes down to is that I want to remove excuses from my (writing) life and add an attitude of 'write anyway' to my life."
Writing prompts for Part four: Close the gap
Now it's your turn. Here are your writing prompts for today. You can write about then in your journal, discuss them with your writing buddies, or just mull them over when you have a quiet moment. Then if you're inspired to do so, please share your responses and/or insights in the comments section on the blog. Free to leave questions for me too, if you have them.
- What do you want to remove from your writing life?
- What do you want to add to your writing life?
And don't miss tomorrow's installment, where we'll tune into the vision for your longer term writing career. It'll be fun and inspiring! See you then. :)