SSRA meetings are always inspirational. We discuss many ways to make our writing better whether we are published authors, experienced pro’s, or newbies looking for a little help from our friends.
The thing I appreciate most about RWA© in general and SSRA in particular, is the ample opportunities to learn the craft of writing.
But it means nothing to learn the art of writing romance if we don’t set realistic goals for ourselves. In SSRA, we do that with our annual Pearl Passport to Success.
The Pearl Passport is a guideline to the things that help writers—aspiring or published–to be more successful.
If you join us at a monthly meeting, you can get a copy of the Passport and check it out. There’re a few things you can learn from us, and we’re happy to know new and aspiring writers.
Here’re a few things you’ll want to remember when you start your journey to success as a writer.
- They are goals, not baggage. Goals we set are very personal as each of us works in different ways to achieve the same results. If you celebrate your status as a Successful Author, you should have a good idea of what you want to accomplish, but remember nothing is set in stone. Like the first draft of a Novel, it’s okay to change your mind about the details. Many authors do change their goals along the way.
- Be specific. You don’t need to have a particular project in mind when you start out, but you do need to aim for a specific target– e.g. Writing daily, or a certain number of words, or writing for a certain amount of time. Many prolific authors use word count or morning pages to get them started each day.
- Break large goals into small daily steps This is what I refer to as “eating the elephant”; you must do it one step at a time. Every project goal should be broken down into smaller bite-size writing steps which ideally, should be done daily. If you miss more than two days of writing in a row, without planning for the time off, you’ll be less likely to get back to it. Many of us don’t realize, it takes twenty-one days to form a new habit, and only two days to break a good one.
- Writing isn’t everything Word count and tracking are necessary. But you can progress towards your goal without writing every day. Thinking, character development, outlining, doodling, planning, editing, brainstorming, etc. all count.
- Be your own drill sergeant Make your goals doable but not too easy. When the goals you set become too comfortable– make them progressively harder. That’s how you get better. It’s called growth.
- No Whining! This was the first of many inspirational signs I posted in my office. If you’re consistently failing to meet your goals, change them to ones you can achieve. Beating yourself up for not reaching a goal is the most damaging and pointless thing you can do. Stop it.
- There is no such thing as Writers Block Now this is the subject for another separate blog, but if you’re feeling blocked, pick a tool that will unblock you – e.g., Morning pages or freewriting to flex your writing muscle. Write and begin the writing with a small goal of one hundred words. This is less than a paragraph, usually. It often leads to many more words.
Last but not least, join a challenge!
Prod Your Muse leaps to mind. The SSRA challenge which culminates with a winner not only in completed first draft but possibly ca$h for Holiday shopping. Just ask the current Committee Chair, Tiffany King who won big last year with a hot property she submitted which is now in print, and extra spending money.
Contributed by SSRA Member, Ane Ryan Walker