Monday, March 12, 2018
Successful Writing Strategy: Know Your Intent
Intent is a crucial factor in success. But, what exactly does this mean?
According to Merriam-Webster, intent is an aim, a clear and “formulated or planned intention.” It is a purpose, “the act or fact of intending.”
Intent is a necessary factor on any path to success, including your path to writing success. You need to know what you want, what you’re striving for. And, that knowledge has to be clearly defined.
An unclear destination or goal is similar to being on a path that has very low hanging branches, an assortment of rocks that may hinder your forward movement, uneven and rugged terrain, branches and even logs strewn across the road; you get the idea. You kind of step over the debris, look around or through the branches, you don’t have a clear view of where you’re going.
A clear-cut goal is akin to walking on a smooth and clear path. No goal related obstacles to hinder your forward momentum or vision.
But, let me add to the sentence above, while intent is crucial, it’s an active and passionate pursuit of your intent that will actually allow you to achieve success. It reminds me of a passage in the Bible at James 24:26, “Faith without works is dead.”
While the intent is there, if you don’t actively take the needed steps to get from A to B, walk-the-walk, rather than just talk-the-talk, you’ll never reach your goal.
To realize your intent, it would be beneficial for you to create a list of questions and statements outlining the specifics to that intent.
A few of questions you might include are:
- What is your ultimate success goal?
- What does the obtainment of your goal mean?
- After picturing it, what does success look like to you?
- How will you reach your goal?
So, how would you answer these questions?
As a writer, perhaps your goal is to write for one or two major magazines. Maybe you’d prefer to be published in a number of smaller magazines. Possibly you want to author a book a year and have them published by traditional publishing houses. Or, maybe you want to self-publish your own books at a faster or slower pace.
Maybe success to you is to make a comfortable living, or you may be very happy with simply supplementing your income. Maybe you want to be a professional, sought after ghostwriter or copywriter. Maybe you want to be a coach, a speaker, offer workshops, or present teleseminars. These are just some of the potential goals for a writer.
Whatever your vision of success is, you need to see it clearly, write it down (it’d be a good idea to also create a vision board), and take the necessary steps to get you where you want to be.
If you find you have a realistic success vision, and are taking the necessary steps to achieve your envisioned intent, at least you think you are, but you still can’t seem to reach the goal, then perhaps your efforts aren’t narrowly focused enough. Maybe your success vision is too broad.
Wanting to be a writer is a noble endeavor, but it’s a very broad target. There are so many niches within the writing arena that if you don’t focus on one or two in particular, you’ll be known as a ‘jack of all trades, master of none.’
Try narrowing down, fine tuning your goal. Remember, it’s essential to be specific and focused.
It might be to your advantage to create success steps that continually move you forward on the path to reaching your ultimate goal.
For someone new to writing, the first step on a writing career would be to learn the craft of writing.
You might give yourself a year or two to join writing groups, take advantage of writing workshops or classes, write for article directories, or create stories.
You should also be part of at least one critique group. This would be your first step to achieving your intent, your success vision.
Instead of trying to go directly from A to B, it might be more effective to go from A to A1 to A2 to A3 . . . to B. But, again, for each step, the intent, a clear-cut vision, and the driving passion all need to be front and center.
Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.
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