Like the nerd I am, today I read through my latest issue of The Costco Connection. On page eleven, I found this quote from Brian Tracy, the chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a training and personal development company:”All successful people do four things. They set clear goals, take risks beyond their comfort zones and accept feedback and self-correct. Above all, successful people never give up.”
How about if I unpack this a bit for all your writerly types?
- Set clear goals. What are your goals this year? What would you like to see happen in your writing career in the next five years? Ten? Over a lifetime? If you haven’t yet written them down, stop reading this post and do it. Of course, that means going to Jesus and asking Him to enlighten you to the best goals. Of course it means that He will supply the strength to accomplish those goals. I’ll share one of mine for the next five years: Learn to write a screenplay. Someday I want to see Watching the Tree Limbs on the silver screen.
- Take risks beyond your comfort zones. I think all writers intrinsically know this. We reach beyond our comfort zones every time we query or send a proposal or write in a genre we’re not familiar with. I certainly felt out of my element writing a memoir in the present tense, but I’m so glad I did it. I’m a better writer because of the risk, I believe. But let’s take it further to marketing. For some of you it means you’ll need to get past timidity to do a radio interview or book signing. It may mean you have to practice speaking in case you land on TV someday.
- Accept feedback and self-correct. Oh how true this is! All along the writing, marketing and publicity journey, we receive tons of feedback. It’s not easy on our egos to take it all, but it’s necessary. Self-correcting means we heed the well-seasoned advice of professionals and make alterations to our writing, speaking, and marketing campaigns. Every day we have the potential to get helpful feedback. And every day we have a choice to become bitter about it or better. Which will you choose?
- Never give up. I truly believe that the difference between those who get published and those who don’t is the never-giving-up factor. Keep at it. Slam into those brick walls if you must; then bandage your head, wait until your vision stops blurring, and keep writing. Write the next word, then the next. Write, write, write. Trust, trust, trust.
And through it all, write for God’s fame, not yours.