10.30.14 - How Do You Use Your Writing To Attain Your Goals?

Last week I asked a hard question - why do you write? Now that you’ve had time to think about it, I have another question for you. 

How do you use your writing to attain your goals?

 

  • Do you lose yourself in story?
  • Do you spend your time deep inside your characters heads?
  • Do you talk about your work on social media?
  • Do you keep plugging away on the same book, year after year?
  • Do you write when the spirit moves you?
  • Do you wait for lightning to strike and the perfect story to land in your lap?
  • Do you write every day, with a schedule and attainable goals? 
  • Do you honor your writing time, and expect those around you to honor it too?
  • Do you take yourself seriously?
  • Do you learn about publishing, enough to understand which path you want to take?
  • Do you procrastinate, then complain to friends how hard writing is?

You already know the answer to the question, don’t you? The only way to succeed at your writing goals, no matter what they are, is to show up to do your work. Yes, lightning strikes. How many writers can you name who’ve had that one idea that propelled their career and allowed them to never write another book again? Harper Lee comes to mind. J.D. Salinger. 

Ergo, it doesn’t happen all that often. You have to write. You can’t succeed in your career if you don’t write the book of your heart, right now. Write the book that you’ve always wanted to write. Life is too damn short to wait. What if, God forbid, something happened to you tomorrow, and you hadn’t worked on it?

Yes, yes, we have to maintain our careers. We have to feed the family and make the deadlines. But I challenge each and every one of you to spend five minutes each and every day writing the book of your heart.

Because guess what? That’s the book that will break you out. Break you free. Your passion for the story, the characters, the setting, will translate.

And it might break you entirely. You may feel like you’ve already written that book, and no one responded. Or it didn’t achieve the acclaim you wanted. Revisit it. You’re a better writer now. You’ve learned so much. You’ve achieved so much. You can rebuild it. Make it stronger. You know it’s not perfect. Nothing ever is.

Five minutes a day. Only five. Two hundred words. That’s a solid, single, solitary paragraph. That’s all it takes. You do that everyday, starting tomorrow, and the book of your heart will be there waiting for you in a year. 

And when you’re ready, you can love your perfect story into being. Sell it, sit on it, whatever. 

But isn’t THAT why we’re writers? To tap into our very souls and create something that makes our hearts sing?

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J.T. Ellison

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of fifteen critically acclaimed thrillers and is the co-author of the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. With over a million books in print, Ellison’s work has been published in twenty-five countries and thirteen languages. She is also the co-host of A Word on Words, Nashville's premier literary TV series, which airs on Nashville Public Television. She lives with her husband and twin kittens in Nashville. Visit JTEllison.com, and follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick or at Facebook.com/JTEllison14.