Today, I am writing this blog with my fellow writers in mind. We call ourselves the Writing Community. There are millions of us out there. (Just under 5K on my Twitter page). We are all on various levels of writing success. Many are just beginning, penning their first words in a journal somewhere. Others have walked a longer road with series after series of novels written. But many are like me, with a few books under their belt and click-clacking away and itching to get the next one completed—and published.
Cheer on Success
We all communicate with each other, as I mentioned, primarily through Twitter. It is where I have met my strongest following. We encourage and push each other to get better at our craft. It feels like we are part of a team. We cheer each other’s successes and pick someone up when they’ve had a bad day, don’t feel inspired to write, or (the worst) received a rejection letter. The goal of the Writing Community is to win together and lose together. But most of all, we inspire and push each other toward the next level of writing success.
A Random Thought
I had a thought the other day of what writing is like, or rather what the life of a writer is like. This may pull some of the people reading this back whom I may be losing that are into sports. I will liken writing to a football playbook. Bear with me, both of you, writer and fanatic. A sports team’s goal is to win the game. The goal of a writer is to write the book. Great, we are on the same page. To win the game or finish the book, a series of smaller goals needs to be accomplished. In the instance of the game, they are called downs; with a book, this can be words written or completed chapters.
Each play of the game is a writer’s daily goal; Each first down is getting through a writing week; Every quarter marks a milestone. The fourth quarter is your final edit—getting through it will be the toughest. The opposition will be at its fiercest and will do anything to keep you from completing the game. But with determination, you got this. You make the score, your clock counts down to zero, and you look up, and you’ve won the game—your project is complete.
Plan to Win
When your pass is completed, you are completing a goal; this means there needs to be goals. Without them, you cannot advance the ball downfield to score. A football team has goals, ten yard goals. Smaller ones that are part of an overall goal–to score. This is part of the overall plan, to win the game. Without that plan, you wouldn’t know where you are headed. It’s in the playbook. Without a playbook, it will be near impossible to move your ball downfield to score. Writers, your playbook revolves around sentences, paragraphs, chapters, edits, rewrites, and submissions.
Writer’s what does your playbook look like? Do you know if you are going to make the pass or run the ball on your next play? It matters. The characters in your story are the players on your offensive line, and they are lined up waiting for your play to be called out. Your QBMC is looking to you to signal the play, Will you go long?
In all seriousness, writers, you should have a plan for your writing. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as a football playbook, but you should have an idea of where you are going. Otherwise, you have no ruler to compare how much progress you have made. Also, don’t let fear of the unknown or fear of failure keep you from writing down what you want from your writing. Winston Churchill said, “Failure is not Fatal.” The other part of that quote is “Success is not Final.” In both cases, it means, and you all have heard me say it; keep on keeping on. We keep advancing.
Completing the Pass
These words not only apply to writing, they apply to life. Anything you want to accomplish, set small goals to help you achieve bigger ones. Drew Brees doesn’t set up on the 20-yard line and throw the ball to a WR in the end zone every play in an attempt to gain a touchdown. No, he makes smaller plays, the smaller passes, carries, and sneaks to get that next first down. Then when the goal line is closest, aim for the touchdown. Whether your goal is writing the next chapter, learning a new skill, or kicking a bad habit; step by step, yard by yard, down by down, you make your way toward the goal you want to accomplish. And with determination, you will get there. And when you do, you can slam the ball down and show off that celebration dance you have been practicing.