Recently, I was working on a novel that ended up taking a year and a half from writing to completion (okay, it’s not completely completed yet, but the writing/editing part is over). What started out as an idea became a story which then expanded into a novel, and throughout, the writing part was easy. It always is, right? It’s the rest that isn’t.
For many writers, and wannabe writers, the fear of the unknown is often what stops them from going further. Fear rules our lives in ways we don’t even think of a lot of the times. It stops us from accomplishing goals, from doing things we want to do, from taking steps to improve and change. Writer’s block is a form of fear that takes hold sometimes when you look toward the end and aren’t sure where you’re going.
I can’t say I always do everything I mean to, and I often put things off for far too long. As it is the new year, the time has come for many people to make resolutions. I talked in my last blog about my own resolutions. The most important thing about resolutions is following through. It’s easy to make a list of things to do but actually doing them is a different story.
Here are some tips to actually getting things done:
- Don’t be afraid: fear is often what stops people from accomplishing their goals – in writing’s case, it’s often a fear of failure or a fear of not being good enough. You have to try to let those fears go in order to move forward. Everything may not be perfect the first time around, but that’s what editing is for. That’s what rewriting is for, and if in the end, it hasn’t turned out how you wanted, that’s what new ideas are for.
- Make a schedule: I have lots of to-do lists but they don’t have end dates. They don’t have any kind of incentive for me to accomplish them. Pick out a reward for yourself if and when you finish your tasks on time.
- Enlist the help of others: this is the same system that NaNoWriMo operates on. The more people you’ll tell, the more responsibility you feel to finish. Tell everyone your goals so they can help remind you later.
Just yesterday, I finally did a few things that I have been putting off for literally years, but they got done and even though I was nervous about a few of them, everything went smoothly and was much easier than I’d anticipated. Don’t let reluctance get in your way. Things are almost always not as bad as you think they’ll be, and you’ll be glad you took the time to do it in the end.