Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Secrets of Kidlit: Stop Dreaming & Get To Work

Do you have a dream, a wish, a hope that someday you’ll do something special?

For as long as I can remember, I talked about wanting to go to Italy. I always said it was my dream trip to go see Rome and Venice, and to drink wine in the Tuscan countryside.

I talked about how great the food would be. I talked about how cool it would be to see the Vatican. I talked about the amazing architecture and how Rome was the beginning of civilization as we know it.

I talked a lot. But I didn’t do anything about actually getting to Italy.

And then one day, it hit me. If I only ever talked about going, but never made plans, I was never going to get there. I would never save the money, or get my passport, let alone book a flight. The time was going to pass whether I took the trip or not, but I going to be left with only a wish if I did nothing.

So I made a decision. I decided I had to schedule a trip to Italy, before it was too late. Not just dreaming of going, but really going.

I set the date. Then, I started telling people I was going, started making plans. I asked friends to join me. I read books about where I wanted to go. I got my passport, booked my flight, researched and booked hotel rooms. 

I made plans. And I went.

Wanting to be a writer can be like every other dream.

You dream of regularly writing on your manuscript. You dream of one day being published. You dream of following up that award-winning book with another one, just as sensational.

Dreams feel good. There’s nothing to be afraid of when you dream, no risk, no rejection. And really, some people like the dream more than the reality and hard work.

Maybe you have writer’s block, so you don’t write, or finish writing. Or maybe you don’t edit, or send out queries because it’s not quite perfect. Because writing is hard, right?


Every book that goes unfinished is simply because the writer couldn’t make themselves do the work.

No one is remembered for what they thought about doing. Your tombstone won’t say “She thought about writing and becoming the next best author.” No one talks about what you dreamed you might someday do- they talk about what you actually did.

Even if it sucks. (Because, yes, sometimes it sucks and that's okay.)

You have to figure out how to get yourself to do the work- how to get yourself to WANT to do the work.

Jim Rohn’s Law Of Diminishing Intent says the longer you wait to take action on a plan you should do now, the less likely you’ll be to follow through and do it.

The longer you wait to do something, the more likely you will lose the motivation and emotional energy to accomplish your goal. 

And never actually do it.

You have to do the work to see the results. You have to push past the fear and temptation to quit and keep doing the work. Any project that stretches you and requires you to grow is always more rewarding than ones that only keep you in your comfort zone. 

Find your “why,” your reason for wanting to be a writer so you can build your writing habits. If you’re not feeling committed to it, no action plan will stick. 

Include the structure to support your goals. What’s stopping you?

If you wanted to start eating better, you wouldn’t keep your house stocked with chips, soda and candy bars. First you would change the way you grocery shop, buying different, healthier foods. Then, when you’re hungry, you’d have fresh fruit and veggies to munch on.

The same goes for writing.

Are you too busy to get any writing done? Get your goals on the calendar. Schedule your writing time like it’s an appointment. Leave the house and go write at the library, if you need to create boundaries with family.

Are you always checking email, Facebook or Twitter during your scheduled writing time? Turn off your internet or install a social media blocker on your computer.

Are large goals too overwhelming? Use small goals. Maybe 750 words a day is good for you. Maybe you can only commit to 250 words a day. That’s fine, don’t judge yourself. Less is more.

The important thing is to decide what you’ll do and then do it.


Because the time is going to pass anyway. And it's better to give everyone something to talk about after you're dead, instead of only keeping that dream in your head.

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