When we don’t purposefully and deliberately choose where to focus our energies and time, other people—our bosses, our colleagues, our clients, and even our families—will choose for us, and before long we’ll have lost sight of everything that is meaningful and important. We can either make our choices deliberately or allow other people’s agendas to control our lives.Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
When it comes to becoming a successful author, planning is 200% more valuable than writing. I’m not talking about outlining your stories and novels before writing them. That is important too, but I’m talking about planning on both macro and micro levels to reach your big picture vision of your life as a writer. Without planning ahead, we get distracted, sidetracked, and stray off task.
Aspiring writers are especially susceptible to writer’s drift, a state when we feel like life always gets in the way of our writing. There are several reasons we allow this to happen on a conscious or subconscious level.
1. Because we don’t earn a steady paycheck from writing yet, so we can’t justify spending time and energy on it.
2. We usually don’t have writing deadlines, except those we impose on ourselves. When we fail to meet them, who cares? No one knows but us. We have no one to hold us accountable.
3. We don’t know exactly what to do next, leaving gaps to be filled with interruptions, distractions, or someone else’s priorities.
We’ll get up for a job we’re not crazy about. We rearrange our schedule for our kids or significant other. We even drag ourselves out to walk the dog no matter how tired we are.
But how often do we take a stand for our writing?
The first chunk of time to be sacrificed when some unforeseen issue comes up is our writing time. Writing time is vague and unconvincing. People don’t respect it. Even we’re not sure what it is we’re not getting done when we’re not able to write. So it’s easy to dismiss it as no big deal.
The one person we fail is ourselves. And we don’t realize the impact it makes on our wellbeing when we’re constantly letting ourselves down by pushing aside our heart’s dream.
What would happen if you treated your writing with the same priority as other aspects of your life?
And how do we put ourselves into position to do that?
How do we do it without feeling guilty or self-indulgent?
Planning out your writer’s path to the smallest details will keep you committed to your writing. This means breaking things up in 5-year, 1-year, quarterly, weekly, and daily goals.
It’s not about finding time to write. It’s about making time to write.
Making sure you always have something scheduled to do next will ensure that you avoid wasting time, overwhelm, and paralysis. This will help you keep moving forward no matter what.
You’ll be able to ignore your fears and push past rejection. You’ll always be able to put one foot in front of the other by executing the next step in your plan.
I’ve created a planning guide to avoid writer’s drift. You can download it for free using the link or form below.
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