These six ways to move your writing forward were inspired by a recent event that initially prevented me from writing.
Read on to discover how that event ultimately led to an a-ha moment that can benefit your writing.
One day last week my housecleaning and writing plans were interrupted by something BIG.
It was, quite literally, a two-story house inching its way down our road.
Since both the electric and cable lines had to be disconnected and moved out of the way, it disrupted my plans…as well as those of all the neighbors.
We gathered together to watch in wonder as mailboxes and street signs were taken down, men trimmed tree branches, and measurements were taken all along our street so this slow-moving house could arrive safely at its new destination.
Rather than being annoyed, we mingled and laughed and shared what’s been going on in our lives. We stood outside, enjoying the sunshine and comfortable breezes. We met the new neighbors…and some old ones we’d never before taken the time to talk to.
And once the move was complete, we all slowly dispersed, calling over our shoulders that we should get together again soon.
So what does any of this have to do with your writing?
Good question. Here’s my answer:
Even though, as a writer, you don’t need to move a house, you do need to move your writing forward.
Upon further reflection, I recognized six ways you (and I) can do so:
1.) Keep writing, even if it’s at a snail’s pace.
Eventually you’ll complete your manuscripts and publish your books…but only if you consistently put in the work.
2.) To move your writing forward, you need to keep your eyes focused forward.
While deadlines are helpful, you also need to remain aware of your surroundings at all times and adjust as necessary. If you keep your head down and simply rush to meet your goal, you won’t be able to see and deal with obstacles before they cause serious damage.
This includes everything from properly citing sources to avoid copyright issues and performing multiple spell checks to avoid embarrassment, to staying up-to-date on publishing trends and social media limitations so you sell more books.
3.) Welcome and engage with your audience.
Just as the linemen chatted and joked with us bystanders as they worked rather than shooing us away, you need to interact with people as you write.
Examples of how to do that include:
- showing your future readers and book buyers how your work is progressing
- answering questions
- simply letting them get to know you
This can be accomplished through social media, in-person events, and your e-mail newsletter (you do have one of those, right?).
The publishing industry calls all of this platform building. I call it community building.
4.) Create a plan and schedule accordingly.
Moving a house is a huge undertaking that requires lots of paperwork, approvals, and scheduling between multiple individuals, companies, and organizations. The same is true for book production.
You can write your book in isolation, but before it goes to press you need to work with an editor, a designer, and a printer (at minimum).
Whether you’re self-publishing or traditionally publishing, you must understand and adhere to the printer/publisher’s specs and requirements.
And you have to allow enough time for print delays when planning book launch events (that’s another story for another time, lol).
5.) Be willing to invest in your books.
Even though the new neighbors got their house for free since it was going to be demolished for a road project, they still had to invest $80k+ to have it moved…plus the cost of the new land and all the ancillary hookup fees.
Yes, it was still a bargain (at least where I live) but it nevertheless required them to pull from their bank account.
Similarly, writers need to be willing to pay for the services needed to create and promote a quality book.
You don’t want your finished book to be something you’re embarrassed to market, nor do you want it to sit undiscovered because you didn’t invest in marketing at all.
Please don’t think I’m saying you need to spend a lot of money to publish and promote your book; I’m simply saying be willing to research your options and spend within your budget.
All businesses have budgets. Treat your writing as a business, too.
6.) Seek guidance and stand firm.
The owners of the new house sought advice and assistance as they researched house movers and properties. Then, once they made a decision, they stuck with it – they didn’t waver.
Writers also need to seek wise counsel and stand firm in their decisions. In a general sense, that means reaching out to established authors and book coaches.
But on a deeper level, if you’re a Christian writer, you know that the wisest and best counsel comes from the Lord.
Be sure to seek His direction through His word and prayer and then proceed with confidence, not allowing fear or doubt to sabotage your important God-given story.
These six tips will help you move your writing forward, but only when you apply them.
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