It’s Not Luck: How Maya Angelou and SARK Wrote So Many Books
When it comes to writing and publishing books like Maya Angelou and SARK, it’s not about luck.
It’s about sitting down and writing.
How else would Maya Angelou have sold millions of books during her lifetime?
Or how would the best-selling author and artist, SARK, have produced over 17 titles? Equating to over 2 million copies of her books being sold?
Here’s the truth: If you actually want to accomplish anything of significance, it takes time, commitment, effort and most importantly… discipline.
Before you get started, ask yourself…
What Choices am I Making?
Maybe you’ve heard this before, but stop and think about it. When you make a decision to do something, you are effectively choosing not to do something else, aren’t you?
So, when you decide you’re going to write that a book, what are you not going to do (i.e. give up doing)? Will it be TV? Maybe some sleep?
For me, writing a book means I’m willing to get less sleep, so the book gets done. What I find that happens is my natural sleep pattern shifts and I find myself waking up in the middle of the night.
I could easily choose to stay in my cozy bed or I can make the decision to get up, open up my laptop and write.
Really, the decision isn’t that hard. For me, writing makes me happy, particularly when I’m writing a book.
My Light Bulb Moment…Committing to Writing My Memoir
I have wanted to write my memoir for years. I talked (and talked) about it. Occasionally, I’d make a flimsy attempt at writing it.
It took attending an EWomenNetwork conference for me to get serious and quit making excuses.
I listened as founder Sandra Yancey shared her insights and strategies to accomplish more in one day than others accomplish in a month.
Listening to her made me realize that my memoir wasn’t going to jump out of my mind and onto my computer screen all by itself. I needed to get off my derriere and get busy to make it happen.
During that conference, I made the commitment to write the first draft of my memoir in the next 66 days, or by May 1, 2017. Since my birthday is shortly after, what better way to celebrate?
While it might sound like a huge commitment for the time frame, it wasn’t. I quickly calculated that all I needed to accomplish was 500-1,000 words, seven days a week to generate 35,000 to 70,000 words for my first draft. Not too bad!
Choosing to commit to writing your book is just one step which can quickly fizzle out if you aren’t motivated to stick to your commitment.
The next question to ask yourself is…
What Motivates You to Action?
Motivators differ from person to person. For me, one important motivator is my word. Whether it is to myself or to others, when I say I’m going to do something, I strive to keep my promise.
To keep my commitment to writing my memoir, I publicly announced my goal in a Facebook Group I manage. Then I invited others to join me with their writing commitments.
We had a variety of writing goals set: completed manuscripts, 30 days of blog posts, letter writing, even information products that needed writing done.
You know something? Since I declared my goal publicly, I’ve not missed a single day. Each day I’ve typed out at least 500 words, with a few days tipping over the 1,000-word count.
Getting to 500 words per day…among other things.
Maybe you think this isn’t a big deal. Anyone can write 500 words in a day. But this isn’t my only writing. I still write for my blog, social media and any other writing required in running my business.
And while I’d love to have stretches of hours to get all my writing done, in reality, I do my writing in short segments of time, such as 30, 45, or 60 minutes.
Many are tempted to chuckle and say 30 minutes isn’t near enough time to get writing done.
I can hear them now, “It takes me 30 minutes just to get in the right mindset to write.” My response? Are you a writer or are you wannabe writer?
It’s possible to accomplish more in a 30-minute focus session than having hours of unfocused fumbling waiting to get in the right mood to write.
Here are four suggestions to help you get in the flow of writing.
- Go outside. Take a moment to walk, hike, or sit by a creek. Nature is a great way to open up your creative channels.
- Set your intentions to write your 500 words on whatever medium you choose (e.g. keyboard or paper and pen). When you “set your intention,” the act itself can open up your creative channels.
- Affirm to yourself that “ideas, words and thoughts flow through me” versus asserting “I just don’t know what to write. I can’t think.” One opens your mind. The other one blocks it.
- Make it your commitment to writing a minimum of 500 words per day for 30 days – no matter what.
Sometimes we think too much and do too little. Use these suggestions to stop thinking and start writing.
It’s all in the doing
Writing books is not about luck. It takes action. Ask yourself what choices you are going to make and what motivates you, then act on those answers and get writing.
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"Imagine who you can become as you pursue your dreams." Kathleen Gage