Last January, my husband and I received pedometers as a New Years gift from our son. He was nudging us towards more exercise. It worked. Why? I think there were two reasons--we had daily visual cues and a goal buddy. Our fitbit pedometers provided us with a daily visual of the amount of exercise we were getting. We set a target of 15,000 steps a day. My husband was my goal buddy and we held each other accountable for reaching the 15,000 steps. Six months into this experiment, I lost my pedometer. Within a month, my steps took a significant drop. I had lost my visual cue and when my husband couldn’t see my steps, he stopped holding me accountable. I just bought a new pedometer, I’m sure I’ll once again reach my exercise goal.
I’m someone who needs to build support and structure around my resolutions. This applies to most areas of my life. I’ve used similar strategies to achieve my writing goals. Creating visual cues and having a goal buddy has kept my writing on track.
Here are a few strategies to boost your writing life.
1. Create visual cues that remind you of your writing goals.
a. Design a vision board. Put pictures, words and phrases that represent your story and your publishing goals. Are you hoping for a book contract? Draw a contract on this board. You can create a vision board for one manuscript or your whole writing life. Enjoy the process. Arts and crafts are good for the soul of a writer.
b. Stick post-it notes all around your house...on your nightstand…bathroom mirror…computer. Write the title of the book or project and your goal. (Finish first draft by Feb 1st; identify two ideas for marketing plan by Friday)
c. Use mind mapping to outline all your projects. See the post by Shirley Corder on mind mapping and writing. She hand drew her mind map. I prefer using software like freeplane or freemind. Below is a mind map of my children's writing projects.
2. Find a goal buddy to connect with once a week or every other week.
a. Find an online partner. Instead of exchanging manuscripts, share a weekly goal and then check in once a week to discuss your progress. A goal buddy should help you establish achievable goals for the week.
b. Phone a friend. Select a friend that you’ll call the same time each week to discuss your weeks accomplishments and set your goals for the coming week.
These techniques provide me with the structure I need to stay disciplined in my writing. What strategies have you used to boost your writing?
Mary Jo Guglielmo is a writer, teacher and intuitive life coach. She helps clients push through their blocks, envision their path and take the necessary action to live their True North.
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