Heading Off to Work, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Be Committed

IMG_4860-1

Be diligent about starting your new habit…Make a point of adding this new habit—whether it be exercising, eating better, or writing or whatever else it may be, for just one day at a time, even if only for a little bit of time.

 

Eventually you’ll find yourself not even thinking about that new, or old, habit…and actually miss doing this on the days when you don’t.

 

 

In my attempt to include writing as part of my daily routine, it was first of all…to state the obvious…important that I actually did write!!!

 

And along my journey this year to adopt writing as a part of my daily routine, I have found the following resources that have hopefully helped me improve my writing skills, think more clearly, and be more organized altogether.

Some of these websites that have helped me along my journey this last year as a writer have included…

1. 750 Words The primary goal of this website is to get writers into the daily habit of writing.every day. This site gives writers the opportunity to write Morning Pages, three pages of writing done every day about anything and everything that pops into mind. ..a concept that originated with the book The Artist’s Way, first published in…

Writing Morning Pages helps clear your mind and gets the ideas flowing for the rest of the day.

According to the website, the standard accepted number of words per page is 250 words…making three pages about 750 words.

This site tracks your word count at all times, lets you know when you’ve passed the 750 mar, awards points based on your writing, allows you to compare your points with the other 300,000-plus members, and gives you an analysis of the feelings, themes, and mindset of your words each day.


2. The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) was founded in 1967 as a nonprofit organization created to advance the art of writing as essential to a good education, encourage and advocate for new writing programs, and provide publishing opportunities for young writers.

Their website includes an extensive database of literary programs, grants, awards, contests, publication opportunities, and conferences throughout North America.

The AWP Conference and Bookfair is the largest literary conference in North America and features over 2,000 presenters and 550 presentations, readings, lectures, panel discussions, book signings, and receptions. Each year conference attracts more than 12,000 attendee and 800 exhibitors.

The first conference was held in 1973 at the Library of Congress, with help from the National Endowment for the Arts. The next conference will be held in Washington, D.C. from February 8–11, 2017.

The Writer’s Chronicle, a magazine published six times a year, has been an important asset to writers for the last forty years. The magazine features in-depth essays on the craft of writing; a listing of grants, awards, publication opportunities available to writers; a list of upcoming conferences for writers; exclusive interviews with accomplished authors, and news on publishing trends.

Each year AWP sponsors six contests…

  1. AWP Award Series, an annual competition for the publication of excellent new book-length works.
  2. Donald Hall Prize for Poetry is an award of $5,500 and publication.
  3. The Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction
  4. The AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction
  5. The AWP Prize for the Novels
  6.  The AWP George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature


3.  The Authors’ Nook is a blog written by Ben Schmitt—a blogger, copywriter, and screenwriter—that offers great writing advice with a dose of humour.


4.  Backspace is an online writers organization with over 1,800 members, including several dozen New York Times bestselling authors,cthat seeks to help writers help other writers through discussion forums, an online guest speaker program, question and answer sessions, articles from publishing experts, and actual conferences and events. Backspace was included in Writer’s Digest Magazine’s ‘101 Best Websites for Writers’ list from 2005 to 2012.


5.  The Blog Starter is a website run by Scott Chow that shares his knowledge from twenty years of experience starting blogs and websites. his ambition is to show other people exactly how to start their own successful blogs.


6.  The Crafty Writer offers a free online, self-paced creative writing course that consists of eight sessions…

  • Releasing your Creativity
  • How to write a short story
  • Writing from a point of view (POV)
  • Bringing your writing to life
  • Writing characters
  • Writing dialogue
  • Poetry: how to write poems
  • Markets, competitions and opportunities


7.  Daily Writing Tips delivers a daily article to your inbox or RSS reader…about topics including grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage, and vocabulary..


8.  Grammarly is an online grammar and spelling checker that helps users find and correct writing mistakes.

Grammarly provides expert help and instant feedback on the accuracy, impact, and credibility of text that you copy and paste into their online text editor.
After checking for more than 250 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, Grammarly flags these errors, suggests corrections, and explains the reasoning behind each correction.

The Grammarly website also offers…

  • Access to the Grammarly Facebook community and Twitter accounts
  • Grammarly Answers, an online community for writers to ask and answer questions on English writing
  • Grammarly Handbook, an online guide explaining English grammar and style
  • Grammarly Words, an online dictionary-thesaurus hybrid
  • The Grammarly Blog full of fun grammar tips and discussions


9.  inkPageant is a database and search engine for blogs and blog posts related to writing. The site strives to help writers improve their writing skills and reach their goals…by gathering the stories of the experiences of other authors and advice given on their own blogs.

10.  Positive Writer encourages writers to stay positive during those days of writer’s block, self-doubt, rejection, waiting, and disappointment.

This award-winning, highly acclaimed website was created by Bryan Hutchinson—a writer whose work has been published in newspapers, national magazines, books, and on world famous blogs.

Articles can be found on this site that to encourage, inspire, motivate, and advise writers…such as this article,  39 Great Books on Writing.

Advertisements
Heading Off to Work

So You Want To “Be” a Writer

IMG_4860-1

Over the last year I have spent the first hour of each day writing…writing this so-called blog, writing in my journal, writing in my Happy Planner, writing in my journaling Bible, or writing on any other paper that might be within hand’s reach first thing in the morning.

Writing has now become such an ingrained habit in my daily routine that if I don’t get this opportunity to write for an hour, my whole day is shot straight to hell…well, not quite that…but does get off to a bad start.

 

But what did it take for this writing habit to become as normal a part of daily existence as closing the refrigerator door after opening it?! What does it take for almost any habit to become so habitual that you rarely have to think about it anymore at all?

 

The first step to adopting a new habit is to recognize the obstacles that are standing in your way and find ways to overcome them.

 

Obstacles are one of those things that you either love or hate…

There are so many different obstacles that each of us must overcome, regardless of who we are, what we do, how we believe, or any other regardless that we could possibly think of.

 

And you either see obstacles as challenges or view them as excuses to give up and quit.

 

 

But your reaction to these obstacles is a choice.

We could all allow our whatever-they-may-be obstacles to hinder us from achieving, or even attempting, our goals…

Or we could allow these obstacles to only slow our progress and make us try harder…still continuing forward, but not giving up.

 

So in this “Now What” series of posts, I am going to talk about how I overcame one of my hardest obstacles—the ability to wake up in the morning…and developed the new habit of writing, especially after starting all of the tools in our previous “Now What” section about ways to get the best sleep ever.

 

 

Heading Off to Work

Now What?!…Figuring Out What IS Your “Now What?!”

(image)

Life is a journey with both valleys and mountains along the way.

Sometimes the top of the mountain seems so high that you simply want to give up altogether.

Sometimes you slip and fall, and may lose your grips.

Sometimes you may not feel like you have the strength and courage to get back up, dust yourself off, and continue on the journey.

 

But life is a always a journey, and only you can determine which direction and what distance you will travel.

 

Like any other journey, the journey of life begins with a single step…

And the first single step on your personal Pilgrim’s Progress is to establish goals…

After all…Those who fail to plan, plan to fail…and no one wants to fail, right?!

 

 

So why should establishing goals be the very first step along the journey…

  • 1. Goals allow you to see those people with common interests and dreams that are also starting along the same path as you, or are a little bit further ahead. Goals assure that everyone in your caravan is pulling in the same direction.
  • 2. Goals establish identity. Established goals allow you to decide how to distinguish yourself from other wolves in the pack and impact your positionwithin the group..
  • 3. Goals make it easier to plan ahead and start working on tasks that actually support your mission.
  • 4. Goals help you understand whether you aresuccessful or not. Having measurable goals allows you to see how far you have traveled already, how much further you have until you reach your destination, and if you are still on course.
  • 5. Goals improve productivity. Youknow what needs to be accomplished both in the present and in the future to reach these goals. You can now direct your actions and efforts toward goal-related activities…instead of unrelated, unimportant, non-strategic activities.
  • 6. Goals enable you to make smarter decisions. Having well-defined goals allows you confront the decisions you encounter along the way  with greater confidence and a greater chance of success. Goals give you a framework within which to work and eliminate uncertainty and actions that won’t contribute to achieving the goals you’ve set.
  • 7. Goals provide motivation. Looking at your endeavor from a broader perspective gives you greater confidence in what lies ahead. Goals that have already been achieved give you a reason to celebrate along the way.
  • 8.  Goals provide cohesion. Each wolf traveling along the same path towards the same destination understands the meaning behind the group’s activities. Having well-defined goals enables the wolves to be consistent and encourages communication and cooperation.
  • 9.  Goals provide direction and set the course. Carefully established goals help you clearly define and understand where you are and where you want to be…and that each activity or task works toward your established goals.
  • 10.  Goals provide focus. Goals enable you to understand how smaller decisions impact larger goals. Goals focus attention on achieving desirable big-picture outcomes and channel brain power toward finding smarter solutions to the “small fire” issues when they come your way.

 

Setting goals is simply SMART…

Many business schools and professionals use the acronym SMART as a guide to set company goals…

—S…Smart
—M…Measurable
—A…Attainable
—R…Realistic
—T…Timely

 

This acronym can be used for goals that we set individually also, so let’s take a closer look.

Specific
…Goals should always be stated in a way that can easily be understood….and should always be written down so that they become something tangible to focus on, evaluate, and refine on a regular basis. As you are establishing your “chosen frozen” goals, ask yourself…

  • What needs to be accomplished?
  • Why is reaching this goal important?
  • How can I spend my time in a way that is consistent with these goals?


Measurable…Goals should be stated in a way that can be easily measured….and shared with your support group, your significant other, or even your own mother. These people can walk along beside you on the journey, provide accountability, and encourage you to keep on going when you really feel like giving up. Ask yourself…

  • Can I track and measure at least one statistic related to this goal?
  • Can I easily evaluate my overall progress by knowing these numbers?
  • Will there be enough information to know if and/or when I should set new goals?


Attainable…”We can only climb the mountains because there’s a valley that makes the mountain a mountain.”

But if the top of the mountain is light years and light years away, then are you really being realistic…

Honestly evaluate where you currently are in order to establish a solid foundation before setting long-term and short-term goals. Ask yourself…

  • Are the goals that you set achievable, yet challenging?
  • Are you starting off with smaller targets and then challenging yourself as you have had more practice and time to get comfortable with the path?
  • Are the goals merely unattainable wishes?


Realistic…Goals must also be realistic and flexible, not carved in stone. Setting goals should not only be a one-time event done only when creating your business plan or settling on your life path. Life happens.

So take some time periodically to re-evaluate your goals, to see exactly how successful you’ve been at achieving them, and to ake any minor changes needed to redirect your efforts. Ask yourself…

  • What is the probability of ever reaching this goal?
  • Do I have the resources needed to actually reach these goals?
  • Are these goals actually goals or simply wishes?


Timely – Goals should be based on a timeline…Long-term goals should be substantially greater than short-term goals and can be charted for even five, ten, or twenty years away. Short-term goals are stepping stones towards achieving these long-term goals and should be attainable in a period of weeks to a year. Ask yourself…

  • Does your goal have a fixed time-frame?
  • When will you start working toward this goal?
  • When will you hope to have reached this goal?
  • How does this deadline influence your daily activities?

 

Another smart way to set goals and figure out “Now What” is to ask yourself the same questions that many of us learned to use back in high school English class when we were writing themes and stories, questions such as…

 

WHO

  • Who benefits the most from me achieving this goal?
  • Who can help me achieve it?
  • Who else believes in me and my ability to reach this goal?
  • Who else is or should be involved?
  • Who will support me?
  • Who won’t support me?

WHAT

  • What did I learn during this last year?
  • What do I need to learn this year?
  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • What excites me about the coming year?
  • What is hindering me from achieving my goals?
  • What is my biggest passion and dream in life?
  • What is my first step?
  • What one wildly bold goal would I like to accomplish that would truly inspire me to get up each morning?
  • What scares me about the coming year?
  • What skills do I you need to acquire and master in order to reach this goal?
  • What tools and resources do I need?
  • What will be my biggest obstacle?
  • What will success look like?

WHEN

  • When can I find the time to do whatever it takes to reach this goal?
  • When will I know that I have reached this goal?
  • When would be a realistic time for me to have reached this goal?

WHERE

  • Where are some places where I can find other people with similar goals?
  • Where do I want to be this time next year?
  • Where will I acquire the necessary knowledge?
  • Where will my goal be accomplished?
  • Where will this take place?

WHY

  • Why am I going to do this in the first place?
  • Why am I willing to invest time, energy, and money in doing this?
  • Why is achieving this goal so important to me?

HOW

  • How can achieving this goal make everything else I am doing better?
  • How will I benefit from reaching this goal?
  • How will I integrate this new goal with with everything else I have going on?
  • How will I market this idea or product?
  • How will I stay focused?
  • How will this be different one year from now?
  • How will this goal be achieved?