Note: The photos in this post were taken at a local frozen yogurt shop the day my book released.
I wanted to write a book for a long time, but I was too busy, too scared, too tired, too something. I read books about writing, researched articles, thought, and gleaned all of the wisdom and knowledge I could. But it all boiled down to one thing: in order to be a writer I actually had to write. So I did, and here are a few things I learned in the process:
1. I must make time to write. My kids are going to get sick, my husband will sometimes work late, the phone will ring, and I still need to find time to make dinner and do laundry. It’s easy to stay busy, but nobody is going to make the time for my dream except me. This might mean leaving laundry unfolded (which I usually do anyways), staying up 30 minutes late, or getting out of bed an hour early.
2. I’m not entitled to writing time. While it’s important to make time to work on my goals, it’s just as important to remember that writing is a privilege, not a right. It is not okay to grow impatient with other people when they “interrupt” my writing time, or to leave basic needs unmet because of pursuing a dream.
3. I need to write when it’s easy and when it’s hard. Writing at Starbucks for an evening while my husband watches our kids is easy. Opening my laptop and getting to work at 6:00am is tough, but I would have never finished a book if I don’t work on it during difficult times. No dream worth fulfilling will always be easy.
4. I can’t let fear paralyze me. If I stopped writing every time I felt fearful, I would never have met my goal. I learned that I have to push through the fear of failure, rejection, and ridicule in order to see my dream come to fruition.
5. Support and accountability are immensely helpful. I told a few trusted people about my book. The encouragement I received and the natural accountability that occurred when people asked how things were progressing helped me to push through the difficult times and keep on working.
6. Any progress is still progress, no matter how little. If I only had ten minutes to work on my book, that was ten minutes better than zero. Instead of berating myself over not making more progress, or getting off track of my goals and then trying to catch up, I just picked up where I’d left off as soon as I could and went from there. Giving myself the freedom to make slow progress helped me to keep going even when I couldn’t contribute much time to writing.
7. The importance of good editing cannot be overestimated. My cousin (who’s a professional editor!) edited my book for me. Then, when her and I were finished picking it apart, I made it look pretty, saved it as a PDF, and sent it out to a few friends and family members who’d agreed to read the book before publication. After three rounds of official editing, a few errors were still found by my pre-release readers. I was very thankful for that feedback and I was able to correct those errors before publishing the book.
What have you learned while working on your goals? I’d love to hear! If you’ve written a blog post on the topic, feel free to link to that post in the comment section.
My first eBook, 28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person released on October 1, 2012. Visit davonneparks.com/ebook for more information.