This past weekend, along with the Southern Christian Writer’s Conference director, Cheryl Wray, we hosted a mini-writing workshop. Write, Publish, & Market was designed to give those who were either starting a writing career or were midway into a writing career, new tips, and tools to move to the next level in their writing journey.
The Big 3 Organizer
One of the many areas most struggle with is time and organization. That’s why I’m sharing my Big 3 Planner today. The idea is to give yourself a goal of accomplishing at least 3 tasks per day, or per week or month. It’s designed to break down those overwhelming “want-to’s and have to’s” into a doable system.
Too many times I’ve seen those attend workshops or conferences and leave overwhelmed only to be frustrated or burnt out afterward. That’s the last thing I want. My passion is helping others succeed.
Even though I was an instructor instead of an attendee, my head was about to explode with all the new ideas I received. What I’ve noticed is that creativity is contagious and being in a room with other creative people, ideas form rather quickly.
The key to dealing with all those ideas swirling around in your head is to:
- Write them down
- Make a List
- Choose 3 from your list to work on each day, week, or month
I have an idea notebook that I keep in my kitchen, (my central command station). Ideas can pop into your head at any time so you need a place to capture those. You could use your phone, there are many apps such as Evernote to use. I also have a file that looks like an overgrown recipe box. I’ve had it for years. Ideas go onto large index cards and are placed in my box separated by dates. You may want to categorize yours by ideas or themes. Dates work for me.
But most importantly, get your ideas out of your head and onto something so that they are not swirling around in your thoughts. If you don’t, you will lose some and you’ll cause yourself stress by rehashing them over and over again. Once the idea is down in your notebook, you have a record.
Next, give yourself time to allow those ideas to simmer. My Granny Bib was a world of wisdom and she always said, “The best stew is one that’s simmered for a while.” Now I can’t cook stew. But I can cook a mean pot of chili. And my family will attest to it tasting better the next day or two days later after it’s had time for all the ingredients to blend.
Good Ideas Stick
Stephen King says that he doesn’t go write a draft for every idea he has, in fact, he waits and makes sure the story idea stays with him. If he can’t stop thinking of the story, then it’s probably a story worth writing down. The same goes for ideas. What ideas won’t go away and what ideas lose their sparkle?
After simmering, go with the ideas that still sparkle.
Once you’ve chosen a few sparkly ideas, make a list. What are the top 3 most difficult or time-consuming ideas? Those should be your be 3 for the year or half the year. Go through the list and pick the next set of 3 that are a little less difficult and time-consuming. Those should be your 3 for a month or a couple of months. Whittle down through your list till you have a set of 3 that are very doable within a week’s timeframe. This is where you start.
Break the other sets into weekly, monthly, semi-year and yearly deadlines. Start small and build up. Give yourself a deadline for each. Celebrate your success along the way. Setting achievable and doable goals will keep you inspired without being overwhelmed.
For those that attended my workshop, I gave them a list of what to do next:
- Determine your Purpose.
- Establish a website that’s truly yours.
- Set up a Facebook Page.
- Create an Opt-In to collect emails and start a Newsletter.
- Choose 1-3 social media channels to focus on that you enjoy and put the most effort into the one or ones that grow.
- Pay Attention to how your readers engage.
- Measure, adjust, & experiment.
- Set a goal of reaching 1 new person a day.
Determining your purpose may take a little longer. However, you can set a deadline for one week, that at least you will have a good idea of:
- What you want to write about.
- Who you are trying to reach.
- & Why you really want to put time and effort into writing this topic.
Small steps today will encourage big growth for tomorrow. My motto that I borrowed from Arthur Ashe.
“Start where you Are. Use what you Have. & Do what you Can.”
Conquer your Adversaries
Let me share a story with you.
In my younger years, my husband and I were renting a house out in the middle of nowhere. It was in central, very rural and wooded Mississippi. My oldest son was two and I was expecting my second son. I was cleaning the yard because my son loved to play outside.
I picked up a handful of sticks and debris to throw into the burn pile when one of them began to wiggle. Before I could react, something clamped down on my index finger.
Thankfully, I had followed another one of my Granny Bib’s nuggets of wisdom, “Always wear gloves when you’re working in the yard. You never know what you’ll come upon.”
She was right as usual.
I had my leather work gloves on and they were about half an inch too big. It was by God’s grace that the baby rattlesnake clamped down not on flesh and bone but he got a mouthful of leather work glove. Instinctively, I slung the snake and my glove across the yard, grab my nearby hoe and chomped that little devil into pieces. He was no longer a threat to me or my small son.
Once I shared the story with Granny, she again gave me one of those wisdom nuggets that I’ve tucked deep into my heart.
“Hon, if you’re going to grab a snake, make sure you pick ’em up by the head and not the tail.”
Many of you are picking up snakes by the tail and they have bitten you. You’ve overwhelmed, frustrated, and discouraged. It’s time to sling that snake and cut it into pieces.
The way you grab a snake by the head is with careful planning and strategic placement. You have a dream of writing. Don’t give up when things get overwhelming. Start with a simple plan. Maybe you can choose one thing a day, one thing a week or one thing a month until you have a good system in place.
The point is, you need to start somewhere.
Be excited about your future. Take time to ask God for direction and trust him to meet you and your needs as you step out into the unknown. Be a lighthouse which is stationary giving consistent continuous light where needed.
Not a flare that’s here one minute and gone the next.
Be a Lighthouse
If you are struggling in any area of your writing or branding & marketing journey, feel free to share them with me. Maybe I can offer an easy solution.
If you have any questions about the services we provide, please use the contact form here.
Are you struggling with developing your Brand or knowing where to even start? You may be interested in my 30 Minute Coaching Mini-Session. This is designed to take your ideas and kickstart a business plan and help you develop a good foundation for your writing career. It’s for those who are confused about the branding process and method of marketing. It’s also for those who have tried a few ideas but don’t feel confident in their choices, maybe you are looking for some feedback or other creative ideas. You can take a look here > WORK WITH ME.