Five ways to progress your writing – or other stuff in your life!

As you might know if you follow my blog regularly I’m very goal orientated. Before I was a full time writer I was a Customer Services Manager for Bournemouth & West Hampshire Water and worked in a very goal orientated industry.

So I like strategies that involve goals. I have to give credit to the motivational speaker, Jack Canfield, for this strategy though. It’s very simple and extremely effective. I use it often.

Step One – Establish goal

First you need to establish a primary goal you want to achieve i.e. write a novel, sell  four short stories in a month, make your novel a best seller (I like the last one – might as well aim high!).

Step Two – Work out what you can do to progress it 

Then every day before you do anything else you write down five things that will help you to achieve that goal. They should be small things. See example.

Step Three – Do the small things

Then you do them. They need to be a priority. Do them before you do anything else.

Step Four – Repeat daily until your goal is achieved.

You carry this out until your goal is achieved. How long that is obviously depends on what your goal is. if it’s a big goal you may be looking at doing this for a year or more. So this takes commitment and staying power. But then so does everything else about being a writer!

But blimey, the results are fantastic. Incidentally, the five things do not have to be massive. We all need to be realistic – we all have jobs, families, social lives i.e. a lot of other things to do in a day. The point is that instead of just dreaming about it – you take steps to move your goal forward.

Here’s an example of how it works in practice.  Back in 2013 I set a goal to get my novel, Ice and a Slice on the Sunday Times Best Seller list. As I said earlier, I like to aim high.  Here are a couple of days actual examples of the five things I did to promote it.

Five a Day Promo for Ice and a Slice

July 10th

  1. Set up twitter page for my main character.
  2. Do five PR tweets that will help publicise.
  3. Follow five new relevant tweeters.
  4. Write a blog.
  5. Find a book review site.

July 11th

  1. Do five PR tweets that will help publicise.
  2. Follow five new relevant tweeters.
  3. Ask book review site if they’ll review.
  4. Set up a Facebook author page.
  5. Edit my blog and publish.

As you can see some of these tasks take longer than others. Some of them are actually the same each day. You need to be realistic. On some days, if I was very busy, my five things would literally be nothing more than five tweets. The point is that I did something – every single day – to progress this goal.

So….did Ice and a Slice get on to the Sunday Times Best Seller List? Not yet. But…. its sales have exceeded my wildest dreams. (It’s the best selling book I have out there at the moment – and some of my books do sell very well)

And I haven’t given up yet!

You can do this for anything. I’ve also used it to lose weight and get fitter. To sell more stories abroad and to decorate my entire house!

Try it and see. It really works.

And if you haven’t read Ice and a Slice yet – people tell me it is rather good.

Please click here to see if they’re right 🙂

Happy Writing!

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9 Responses to Five ways to progress your writing – or other stuff in your life!

  1. Nicola says:

    Great advice, Della. I’ll get right to it. Thanks.

  2. Tracy says:

    Great advice Della. At Winchester Conference last year Julian Fellowes gave the same advice. He vowed every day to do one thing to move his career forward- it might have been one phone call, one page but he did one thing every day ( Christmas included).

  3. Sue Blackburn says:

    This is brilliant advice Della. My one big, big goal was to have a story accepted by The People’s Friend and I worked at it for years (literally – rejection after rejection) In the last year I’ve now had five acceptances from them. Possibly small fry compared to some but to me it means the world.

    Get a goal, work at it (fabulous advice too from Julian Fellowes) move it forward and dreams really can come true.

    Thanks for a great blog :o) xx

  4. Patsy says:

    I’m not as organised or focussed as you, but a while ago I started producing monthly lists of the things I wanted to achieve with my writing (mostly just where I hoped to sub stories) and I have found that’s helped me get more done.

  5. This sounds like a really good idea and I might give it a go. Sometimes it’s far too easy to let writing drop down the priority list, yet if someone commissions work I don’t dream of dawdling or doing it last – it becomes a priority. So why can’t I do that when I’m writing something on spec?
    Perhaps this will help! Thanks 🙂
    P.S. One teensy request – it would be great if there were sharing buttons on your blog so that with a quick click we could transmit your words of wisdom. (If they are there and I’ve missed them, I apologise. It’s late!)

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