“If you wait for inspiration, you‘re not a writer, you‘re a waiter." ---Anonymous
Anybody that’s ever been on a diet knows how tremendously frustrating it is to plateau. The dieter, say for instance, pledges to lose 25lbs for an upcoming class reunion, or a wedding, or to have a bikini-ready body by summer, or fill in the ___________blank.
With a little “engine-that-could” determination, some lifestyle modification, fewer carbs, and a few scheduled trips to the gym, things begin to look promising.
After a six-week weigh in, there’s definitely a noted difference. She/he loses a little weight and gains a lot of confidence. Then perhaps two or three months down the line, a strange phenomenon happens. It stops.
Progress screeches like fingertips on a chalkboard. And no matter how hard the work out, the inches and pounds just won’t budge.
A similar scenario can happen with writers; particularly those of us who have been at this craft for awhile.
Perhaps it has even happened with you. If so, don’t lose heart.
If you feel as if you’ve been on a treadmill going nowhere, here are a few timely tips to keep you motivated, make more money, and reach greater heights in 2014.
So, gear up.
8 Tips to Optimize Your Performance and Move Forward
Challenge yourself. If you’ve always written 800-word articles, try writing 2000 words. If your weakness is conducting interviews, reach out to someone with whom you already have an established relationship and request to profile them. You could start out with doing a”5Qs With…” type of interview. If you’re an aspiring novelist try NANOWRIMO this year. Step it up.
2. Don’t let your creative muscles atrophy.
Even if it’s not for pay, make writing a part of your regular routine. It can be writing in a journal, or penning a blog post on your pet peeves. Experts advise that scribes write daily, but if your schedule doesn’t allow for it, at least develop a habit of writing regularly every week, at the same time.
3. Develop a “winner’s mindset” with positive thinking and positive affirmations.
Prize fighter Muhammad Ali was famous for his mantra: “I am the greatest!” He would chant it before each fight…and it became a reality. “As a man thinketh, so it is.” Remember that rejections are not necessarily a reflection of your worth as a writer. Stay in the ring.
4. Never stop “training.”
Training can be formal or informal. For example, an online class could be a formal method of honing your craft, or you could connect with an author you admire through social media and seek a mentoring relationship.
Here are a few links to places that offer courses for writers who want to expand their knowledge base and their bottom line.
Inkwell Editorial provides training on SEO Writing
Writers College offers classes in an array of genres
So does the Coffeehouse
5. Vary your routine.
To stay motivated and progressive, sometimes it becomes necessary to shake things up a bit. For instance, I try to post on my Blog on Tuesdays and Sundays; I work on ghost writing and client-related projects on Mondays and Fridays. In between, I answer calls for submissions to various anthology projects. No two days are the same. It keeps the creative juices flowing and provides an interesting creative mix. Varying your routine could also include changing the location and/or environment that you typically create in. Get the idea here?
6. Find a goal buddy.
It’s not unusual to find athletes that partner with each other for added encouragement, fun and accountability. In fact, people work out together in teams at the gym all the time, to “spot” each other and even to compete. It works for writing too. Ideally it should be someone who is honest and reliable. There’s also an online tool that helps you to set, monitor, and achieve your goals for free.
See Goal Buddy here:
7. Take a “time out.”
This may seem counterproductive, but it’s true. Optimal performance in any endeavor requires that we give our body and mind sufficient “down-time” to go the distance.
Author Donna Goodrich shares in her book, A Step in the Write Direction: “Get away from writing for awhile. Take a walk, or a nap, go for a drive, work out at a gym, take a weekend vacation. It will recharge your creativity.” Have you ever noticed that singers may take years between releasing albums before they resurface?
8. Don’t lose sight of your past victories.
In times when you feel you’ve lost your touch with writing, it helps to reflect upon past successes. Whether this entails taking out your prized clips, reading fan mail, or looking at a profitable month’s PayPal Statement, keep proper perspective. In the words of Dr. Phil, “The best predictor of the future is the past.”
Follow these timely tips for a year with winning potential and new heights.
You could very well become a lean, mean writing machine!
Are you in? Thoughts?