I love doing book signings. Not only does it give me a chance to get my name out there, but it also gives me a chance to talk to people. The number one thing I hear from people is how they’ve always wanted to write a book. And to each and every one of them I say, “Do it.”
What comes next? Mostly a bunch of excuses and for the most part I just nod my head and smile because I’ve been there. I lived in “excuse” land for over a decade, I understand it’s easy to take up residence and live there. And if you want to know the truth, the hardest part about writing a book is starting.
But isn’t that true with anything you really want to do? No matter what our goal is, starting is the hardest part. You might think, “I want to start that book/weight loss program/organization/spiritual journey today, but I have *enter life here* to get done. I’ll start tomorrow.” And then tomorrow becomes Monday, then Monday becomes the first of the month, then the first of the month turns into another year gone by without even starting toward your goal. Sound familiar?
So here are some tips to getting started:
Start small – I think a lot of people think they have to jump into the deep end when working toward a goal. Instead, I have found that it’s better to work your way in, that way you have time to incorporate the goal into your schedule. You want to write a book, then make yourself write 250 words a day instead of a thousand. As it gets easier and you get into a routine, you’ll be writing a thousand words without even knowing it.
Keep a schedule – I realize I’m a Type A person and not everyone is a schedule maker like I am. You don’t have to plan your whole day, just a time to work towards your goal. If you plan for it, then you’re less likely to let “life” get in the way.
Have an accountability buddy – I have a critique group and if I don’t have something new every week for them to read, then I hear about it. Make sure it’s someone you can count on and I highly suggest it’s not your spouse. If one of my critique partners gets onto me for not writing, I take it a lot better than if my husband gets onto me for not writing. The last thing you want is to take a supportive relationship and make it into resentment city.
Every time I finish a manuscript, my husband takes me out for crab legs. I love sea food, he doesn’t. But he “makes that sacrifice” for me, because finishing what you start should be rewarded. I have also used T.V. shows to encourage me, for example, while finishing Winter Song I wouldn’t let myself watch an episode of Downton Abby until I finished my word/edit goal for that day. It doesn’t have to be a crab dinner every day, just a little something to look forward too.
I hope that whatever your goal is for 2014 that these little tips help and that each and every one of you have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.
Jennifer McMurrain is the author of two novels, Winter Song and Quail Crossings. She blogs about her life as a full time mommy/full time author at A Moment of Jen.