A dream becomes a goal when action is taken toward its achievement.
When was the last time you had some action?
No, not like that, you dirty dog…
As writers we tend to be a procrastinating bunch and so it’s essential that we take action to reach our writing goals.
Otherwise, we’ll never accomplish them.
The Importance of Taking Action
Taking action is rewarded with success. Excessive planning and talking about your goals are not. What that success looks like is different for everyone. It might be publication or finishing your first draft, but whatever it is, you ain’t gonna get there unless you take some writing action every single day.
Planning has its place, don’t get me wrong. But whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, unless you actually make a start and write the book, it will remain a pipe dream or a rarely-opened folder on your computer.
Taking action every day will ensure that these small steps add up to something much bigger. Rather than thinking about the whole book, thing about an actionable step you can take each day to get you closer to the finished product.
The Perfect Time to Write
Taking action doesn’t mean that you need to wait for the perfect time to start. Personally, I’m always looking for a Monday to start something new. It just makes me feel happier. But I’ve come to realise that it’s not a productive way to approach writing.
Using the ‘Monday Rule’ means I miss out on valuable writing action. If I missed a couple of writing sessions and suddenly it was Wednesday, I would right off the whole week and convince myself that I could start again ‘on Monday’. Crazy behaviour!
There is no perfect time to write. There is only now. Today. Find a pocket of time TODAY and write. It doesn’t matter if it’s 30 minutes or 2 hours, just write. A few sentences is better than nothing at all. Soon those few sentences will become a page and then a chapter. Before you know it, your first draft is written.
Only you know how much time you can afford. But afford yourself a little every day. Take action, today.
Fear of Failure
If you take writing action, you might fail. Actually, scrap that. You will fail. At some point or another, the action you took will come back to bite you on the ass. It’s inevitable.
But you need to make your peace with that otherwise you’ll never take any writing action at all.
Successful people realise that failure is an important part of learning. They learn by trial and error. Do you honestly think that Stephen King wrote The Shining the first time he tried? Do you really believe that Tolkien wrote about Middle Earth without falling flat a few times?
Every writing experience you have or action you take will yield more useful information and feedback for you to apply next time. Learn from the mistakes and the failures and keep moving forward. Keep taking action despite them.
Follow a Route But Not The Route
Writers often feel discouraged when they don’t know the path ahead of them. By taking action every day, you’re forced to walk the path even if you don’t know where it will take you. You might like to know the final destination, but how you get there will unfold in front of you.
If you know that the end goal is a finished book, you need to commit to taking action every day in order to achieve it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how that will happen. Just lean into it. Start typing and see what happens. If you come across an obstacle, think creatively around it. Try new things.
But whatever you do, don’t give up. Don’t let obstacles become deterrents. If you can’t go in a metaphorical straight line, try turning right or left and see if that helps. It may just be the path you need in order to finish the project.
Just lean into it. Take action by writing your chapter or your scene and let the story unfurl itself as you go.
Taking action can be terrifying and unsettling, yet wonderful and exhilirating at the same time. The sense of pride you will feel as your project comes to life will be incredible. Your book isn’t going to write itself. You have to get behind the wheel and drive a little further towards the destination each and every day.
Don’t be afraid of action. Embrace it. Lean into it.
It might just be the best thing you can do.
What action do you take in your writing every day? If it’s not every day, how often are you able to do it? Do you find it terrifying or thrilling? Leave a comment in the box below and let discussions begin!