I’m returning to the blogosphere after a much-needed break over the Christmas/New Year holiday. It’s been fun to take time off, and now I’m back in the saddle and ready to roll for the coming year.
I am no big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually made one in my life. I have serious doubts that such things work. The goal of a New Year’s Resolution seems to be to suddenly BECOME someone new, all in one day.
Yeah, right. The real world doesn’t work that way. In the real world, you don’t suddenly switch from being one person to being another person. In the real world, change happens in increments. One day at a time, as the AA people say.
In the real world, change happens because you start DOING something new, and keep doing it and keep doing it. Six months later, you suddenly realize that you have BECOME someone substantially different from who you used to be.
It happens when you decide to take action today, and to take action tomorrow, and to take action the day after. Taking action is what makes things happen. Not taking action is what makes things stay the same.
It‘s all about continuous improvement, not instantaneous improvement.
I’ve got my action list for today. It’s different from the action list I made yesterday, because I got (most of) that action list done.
As a novelist, you’ve probably got some Big Goals for this year. Those might include:
1) Developing your skills as a writer.
2) Writing a first draft of that novel you’ve always wanted to write.
3) Making connections with agents at editors.
All of those are great Big Goals, but none of them can happen in a day. What can happen in a day is that you take an action TOWARD reaching that Big Goal. One action I’m taking today is to apply some new analytical tools to my current three sample chapters. I learned these tools from Margie Lawson, a psychologist who specializes in helping writers develop better characters.
What about you? What actions will you take today? There are hundreds or thousands you could take. Some will move you toward your Big Goal. Some won’t. Here are a few examples, taken completely at random:
1) Write one scene in your novel.
2) Buy a book on writing, such as Dwight Swain’s “Techniques of the Selling Writer” or James Scott Bell’s “Plot & Structure.”
3) Clear out a workspace for your writing where you can write comfortably.
4) Schedule time to write on a regular basis.
5) Browse the web to identify a good writing conference to attend this year.
6) Buy a lecture series on the craft of writing fiction, such as my Fiction 101 or Fiction 201 courses.
7) Buy a program that teaches you how to type better and faster.
8) Talk to your family about taking on some of the tasks you do so you’ll have more time to write.
9) Learn to use your time more effectively by using a time-management tool such as Simpleology.
10) Start a blog that you can use to develop name recognition and begin building the marketing platform for your next book.
There are many other possibilities. One blog I read every day is James Brausch’s blog on building an internet business. If you are familiar with James, you’ll see that I’ve learned a lot from him. I certainly use several of his tools for building my business. (And thanks to James for linking to this blog today.) The reason I read James’s blog is his unswerving commitment to taking action today. Nothing happens unless you take action.
So that’s my question for you all today. What’s your Big Goal for this coming year, and what action will you take today that will move you closer to achieving that Big Goal? Leave a comment here.