Spoiler Alert. This blog post is about me.
Me. Me. Me. Me. Me.
I follow thought leader James Altucher. He called one of his best-sellers,”Choose Yourself.” I love that. Wish I’d thought of it. He mostly writes about “Me” and I love that too, because his “Me” always relates to my “Me”. A virtual shoulder to cry on, but let’s get back to “Me” and “You”.
What Did 2016 Teach You?
Ticked The Boxes
I’ll use myself as an example. In 2016, I co-wrote a screenplay, finished the first draft of another, published a short non-fiction book, and won at Nanowrimo 2016. #Win! The take-away for that was a first draft of a whole new concept, which I am itching to write, but I have other stuff to finish first. More about “Finishing” later.
Success Is What You Want It To Be
But I feel like I haven’t done much. My “Done” list feels more like a “Not Done Yet” list. Stephen King knocks out an outstanding novel every year, and sometimes writes a short one straight after, just to wind down. My favorite bloggers post almost every day. Some writers are so productive. However, I’ve learned not to knock my achievements, small as they are, because it risks activating a negative cycle.
Did you have a writing plan for 2016 but feel you didn’t achieve it? Take another look, and pick out what you did achieve. At least you had a plan, and you’ll accomplish more if you create a goal than if you didn’t.
Take-Away 1: Look to your successes.
Writing For Love or Money
When I revisit the “Not Done Yet” list, I see that in fact I have a lot of “writing real estate” there, or IP (Intellectual Property), if you want to get fancy.
The screenplay I collaborated on is in pre-production for the movie. How exciting is that?
The solo screenplay is a good sample piece.
My non-fiction book is launched and up there.
The new concept will add another title to my repertoire.
On second thoughts, I’ve accomplished quite a bit since I published my first eBook on Kindle. A big fear for a fiction writer is always, “Will I have any more ideas?” It’s a relief when you do, even if they seem impossible to write.
Write Your Passion
The common factor in all of these is they’re all projects I wanted to do. I have an emotional connection with them that fuelled my enthusiasm and commitment. Without it, I don’t believe writers can do their best work. Call it the Muse, or whatever, but it has to come from within. I’ve done “content mill” stuff in the past. Gruesome. Your real work forms within; it’s not imposed on you from outside.
To stay in the long game, write your passion. The writing is technical. It’s a day job, but you need core inspiration to keep going.
Take-Away 2: It must come from the heart.
Finishing is The Challenge
Judging by laments from writers on forums I belong to, I would guess that for every publication, there are a hundred unfinished works lying around in drawers or online files. Every art form has its practice pieces. Actually, those early stages when you are still sketching around are easier. The finishing bit is dastardly difficult, nigh on impossible, but you have to get there.
Take-Away 3: Call yourself a writer? You really do have to finish it.
The Big Finish: Writers’ Hacks 2017
My top take-away for 2017 is “Finish It”.
This means in 2017 I must:
Work the solo screenplay up to the final draft.
Write the new concept to a finished piece.
These two projects form my big take-away into the first half of 2017, not to mention my peripheral writing activities, and by which time I hope I will have come up with my next Big Idea. Now from Me to You, it’s your turn. How about you?
Your 2016 Take-Away
Are you fired up for 2017? Oh wait; we’ve got the Christmas/Holidays/Whatever thing first. Well never mind, before you get all tangled up in tinsel and mistletoe, let’s have your Big Writer’s 2016 Take-Away. Leave a comment. That would be great. And you don’t have to mention any resolutions about gym, exercise, or jogging. This is a diet-and-exertion-free zone. We’re all head stuff and brain-hurt on my blog.