I often bang the drum for goal-setting and I truly believe this is one of the most powerful strategies for getting your novel written, but there’s a way to super-charge its effectiveness: Tell someone else.
Make yourself accountable for your progress to a fellow human being. Once you’ve set your goals and broken them down into manageable steps, send your to-do list to a friend and ask them to check up on you in a month’s time.
This has two great results. Firstly, you are treating your writing seriously and professionally (subconsciously aligning it to the way you tackle tasks in other parts of your life, such as your work or parenting duties) and secondly, you are increasing the pressure to succeed. Just a little bit. Your friend isn’t going to shout at you or point and laugh, but you will have to face them and say ‘I didn’t do the stuff I said I was going to do’ and that’s something you’ll want to avoid.
It doesn’t have to be once a month, of course, you can buddy up with a friend and agree to swap goal lists every week or every day. I say ‘swap lists’ because I think this works especially well if you are both trying to achieve something and are supporting each other. That way, it’s less like being checked up on by a ‘boss figure’ and more like finding a running mate.
If you don’t know anybody who is trying to write (or paint or start a business or decorate their house) who is willing to partner-up, then try joining an online community. I’ve seen (and participated in) motivational groups on Facebook, Twitter, author blogs and creative writing forums and found them hugely helpful.
Another idea is to make a regular date with your friend (or group). Meet somewhere nice (which sells good cake/fine alcohol) to discuss your goal lists and progress. You can swap ideas, support one another and celebrate goal successes.
Only you can write your book but you don’t have to do it alone.
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