Thursday, January 8, 2015

Life Hacks that Every Successful Writer Needs to Know

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The writer’s life isn’t an easy one. So much of what we create comes from some place deep inside ourselves. Giving that way can be exhausting, not to mention frustrating, when we feel empty.

The good news is that there are things we can do to help ourselves. I’ve come to learn that we either set ourselves up for success or we set ourselves up for failure.  Today I’ll share some of the writing and blogging hacks that every successful writer needs to know.

1. Writing is a mind game—and our minds play tricks on us. When we’re in a good mood, we have confidence. When something goes wrong, that confidence melts away. Successful writers don’t base their confidence on emotions. 

2. Speak kindly to yourself. Along with the attitude comes the way we treat ourselves. We talk junk to ourselves in ways that we would never talk to someone else. Decide right now to stop. Speak words of encouragement to yourself and you’ll speed the path to success.

3. Take care of yourself physically. Writing isn’t just hard because of the mind games. It’s hard on our bodies. Just sitting all day has shown to cause horrible health problems. Take time to get the exercise you need and fuel your body with healthy food and plenty of water.

4. Schedule some rest and relaxation. I’m not necessarily talking about napping, although that's not a bad idea. Writing regularly is important, but so is time away. Take a drive, plan lunch out with a friend, what ever helps you relax.

5. Follow a regular writing schedule. Notice I said regular—not normal. You may only be able to write late at night, or early in the morning. Or you may only be able to write on the weekends. Whatever works for you is fine—as long as you do it regularly.

6. Surround yourself with other writers who have the same commitment. This is so important. If you surround yourself with others who aren’t serious about writing or those you constantly have to shore up and encourage, you’ll wear yourself out. Find people who are committed to finish well, no matter what life problems crop up.

7. Set goals that you can track and measure. If you can’t tell how close you are to a goal, it’s pretty frustrating, so make sure the goals you have are ones where you can track the progress. For example, set a goal to send out so many queries or proposals or attend so many conferences. Don’t make getting a publishing contract the goal. You really don’t have any control over a publisher saying yes or no. BUT you can write the book, send out the queries and get everything in place for when it does happen.

8. Invest in your dream. You have the right to follow your heart. Don’t let anyone say you don’t. But also don’t be your own worst enemy. Invest time, effort and money in making your publishing goals a reality.

9. Learn how to take critique. Writers seem to range from one extreme to the other. We either think everything we write is perfect and better than anything out there. Or we think everything we write is junk. We have no perspective. Find others you respect and listen to what they have to say about your writing. Improve where you need to, and relish the parts that truly are great.

10. Read regularly. I know that none of us has the time, but successful writers (those who are growing in their craft) know it’s vital to take the time. Read regularly, read deeply and read widely.

11. Never go anywhere without a notebook. That notebook might be a note-taking app on your mobile device, but never be without a way to record idea. Inspiration ALWAYS strikes at inconvenient times. Don’t get caught without a way to capture an illusive idea.

12. Keep writing, no matter what. Yes, life happens. But no matter what rough time you’re going through keep writing. You might be able to put away the formal projects when a crisis hits, but keep writing something—a journal, a poem,  a prayer.

These are the things that help me keep moving forward, no matter what. I’d love for you to add to the list.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLES


20 comments:

  1. This is good, Edie! Remembering these helps us to prevent the hacks. ;o)

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    1. Ane, hehehe! Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

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  2. Edie, several of these hit close to home for me. I think knowing me as well as you do, you can probably figure out which ones. With me re-commiting to my blog in this new year, these are helpful for me to remember. Love you, precious friend!

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    1. Jamie, there's not a single one of these that I haven't struggled with at one time or another! Blessings, E

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  3. Number 11. really spoke to me. I went out New Year's Eve to just get away from it all. Ended up having some neat experiences and met some really awesome people. Unfortunately I forgot not only my notebook, but my camera. Yes I had the one on my phone, but it is not the same. I like your pointers but I learned this one the old fashioned way, Also known as "The Hard Way"

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    1. Ric, it's amazing how we can isolate ourselves without even realizing it! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Blessings, E

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  4. Dear Edie,
    Everything on your list was needful for me. Thank you so much!

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    1. Margie, thank you. You are such an encouragement to me! Blessings, E

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  5. Excellent advice. I didn't make any resolutions this year so I think I'll comandeer these! Thank you.

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    1. Mary, I'm happy for you to commandeer these! Thanks so much for stopping by, Blessings, E

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  6. I loved these tips, Edie. I'm working to be kinder to my body--more sleep and exercise. It's hard to fit it in, but I need to. I do find that I am more refreshed when I am diligent on this point. Great post!

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    1. Jeanne, me too. It is hard to fit in, but I'm making some changes, including a stand-up desk! Blessings, E

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  7. Andrea Losurdo CassidyJanuary 8, 2015 at 9:22 PM

    Edie, I stumbled upon your blog quite by accident, and I find your words to be inspiring! As a new writer hoping to complete my first novel, I found your tips to be spot on. Thank you for the great advice.

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    1. Andrea, I'm so glad you found us! Welcome and be sure to let me know if you have any subject you'd like to see in a blog post. Thanks so much for stopping by, Blessings, E

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  8. Andrea Losurdo CassidyJanuary 9, 2015 at 1:07 PM

    Thanks for the kind welcome Edie. I've been catching up on your past blog posts and I am enjoying your insight.

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  9. Great post full of useful tips! My site is fairly good and I am also having a hard time getting my readers to leave comments. Analytics shows they are coming to the site but I have a feeling “nobody wants to be first”

    writer

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  10. Great post with a lot of helpful and useful tips. Thank you very much.

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  11. Ohh, its nice that there is no common "write every day" advice!

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