Trish, you helped me with your short collaborative exercises that weren't too overwhelming. Working on the exercises together and having someone out there giving me instant feedback was extremely helpful ... Your exercises allowed me to see the forest through the trees. These simple, short assignments really helped.
Celeste Porter, Elko, NV
Procrastination Kills Your Publishing Dreams
... What's Your Excuse?
Procrastination is considered a coping mechanism for dealing with the anxiety or fear. If anxiety or fear didn't exist, we wouldn't put things off. We would go for it! So procrastination is self-sabotaging-keeping us from realizing our dreams.
In regard to writing your book, you may have put it off for any number of reasons.Perhaps it's fear of failure-or success. Or you think you're not a good enough writer; you don't know enough to write anything; you'll never get your book published; no one will like your book or what you have to say; you don't have time to write, you just plain HATE TO WRITE.
Nonetheless, you really want to write that book.You have an expertise you want to share that helps others; you know a book will help boost your career. You just finished a book that you could have written better. You've got a story that's been bouncing around in your head for years. Still-you haven't started writing your book. Why? Maybe your anxieties are overwhelming your desire-and you need to change that.
Visualize your dream as a published author.You are the expert. See yourself holding your book, talking to others about it. Perhaps you're at a book signing or giving a talk about it, or being interviewed by the media. The result? Your status is bolstered and you enjoy success because of the book.
How badly do you want to attain this dream of publishing book?Write a number 1 to 10 (highest). If it's 7 or above, what's stopping your from pursuing your dream? Ask yourself: What's the worse thing that could happen? Even if your book was a failure, you would learn from the process and move on. The literature is replete with the failed stories of successful authors. Remember, the worst regrets are on the chances you never took!
Once you identify those demons blocking your success, you can overcome them-and take action.
Let's look at nine major excuses of procrastinators and how to overcome them.
I don't have enough time.
Set aside just 15 minutes every day to work on your book. Perhaps, get up 15 minutes earlier. Commit to focusing at least 15 minutes a day of uninterrupted writing. During your "writing time," do not answer the phone, e-mails, or text messages. Just like you plan uninterrupted time to workout or to meditate or to be with your kids, devote at least 15 minutes every day to work on your book.
Set a schedule and put book writing on your "to do" list. Now that you have committed to just 15 minutes, schedule it into your day on a regular basis-preferably the same time every day-so it becomes part of your routine. That way you won't forget or avoid it. Hold yourself responsible to working on your book each day. Check it off your "to do" list as a way of acknowledging your success in following through with your goal. Take some time to rest and relax. Reward yourself with something that works for you.
Hint: one client uses his 45 minute drive time to dictate chapters of his book. (Be sure not to jeopardize your safety if you choose to dictate while driving.)
Start at the endpoint-your goals and expectations for the book. Work in small steps to create a structure-a plan--like an architect. You wouldn't start building a house without a blueprint. Likewise, you need a plan for your book. Rather than begin by writing with no direction, the first step is to give thought-a great deal of thought to the structure of your book. What are your vision, goals, and expectations? Go from there, in small steps, to identify your target audience, branding, positioning, etc. At AuthorAssist, we offer 15 exercises that result in a rough book promotion plan and table of contents-your blueprint. Realize, you haven't yet written a single word! But now you have a plan-a direction for starting-and finishing your book.
Consider dictating your manuscript. Choose from a variety of voice recognition programs or dictate into a digital recorder or even your cell phone. The digital file can be imported into your voice recognition program or you can hire someone to manually transcribe the file. Since we talk faster than we write, this can be an efficient and less stressful method, for getting a first draft of your book.
Start by setting up an office that is free from such distractions. Anything on your desk or office that is unfinished, unloved, or unused is clutter eating up the energy that could be used creatively with your work. As you spend time looking for something you need, you'll get distracted by the desire to finish something else and put things in their place.Remember your dream of writing your book? Incorporate a visual image-a mock book cover or photo of yourself at a book signing. This will motivate you and allow you to focus on your work.
I need a deadline to get things done.Give yourself a firm time frame for completing one manageable step. If you're devoting only 15 minutes, it may take several days to complete one step. That's okay. Just meet our deadline. Create a calendar to show when that step will be completed and the next one started-and proceed from there.
I feel alone in trying to start (or finish) my book.
Enlist a writing coach or buddy to get you going-and keep you going. Writing is a solitary endeavor and it's easy to feel alone in your thoughts and words. Hire a writing coach or enlist another writer to help you overcome the procrastination associated with starting your book. A coach provides the specific steps for developing your blueprint. Then you can begin the actual writing, dictating subchapters at a time to get to that vital first draft. Your coach or buddy will check up on you regularly to ensure you are making progress.
How much is it worth to succeed at your dream--and boost your status? Yes,there are costs as with anything worthwhile. Like the task involved, the costs are manageable and can be budgeted in small chunks.
Where will you be a year from now: wishing you had started today-or holding a copy your published book? When it comes to taking the first step toward writing your book, it's easy to but it off until tomorrow. Remember, the best way to get something done is to begin. Do It Now.
PLEASE NOTE: We do not handle poetry.
Getting your book published: Clients talk about our coaching service ...After receiving my MFA, publishing many stories, and receiving awards for my writing, I knew I was a skilled writer. But, like any writer, I have areas in my work that need improvement. Trish, you gave me exceptional, directive support in those areas – in my case, plot and wordiness. With your guidance, it took me only six months to write the book I’ve been trying to write for years -- and to get a top New York literary agent to represent me. Now, a major publishing house has bought the rights and will be publishing it. You led me (at times hand-held me) through the process of creating a superb query and synopsis. I could not have done this without you.
Kerry Cohen Hoffman,MFA, Lennox, MA, author of Easy, published by Simon & Schuster
I just thought I'd let you know my memoir about my strange childhood home has been accepted for publication. With the addition of some historical material, the book is essentially the same as when I worked with you on it. Thank you so much for all your help. You were very instrumental in my getting this published.
Kate Barlow, Oakville, Canada, author of Abode of Love, in press, Mainstream Publishing.
With your coaching, there were such noticeable changes in my writing. I received more education from you, than I did in most college courses. It was quite intense. In fact, it was remarkable. You are a talented woman with so much integrity. You changed the course of my life. I am now a writer and freelance reporter.
Christina Macone-Greene, Fallbrook, CA
I have taken numerous creative writing classes at local colleges and I've attended a couple of writing workshops and I can honestly say I have never received such professional help on any of my work as you have provided. Thanks a million.
James Wray, San Diego, author of award-winning "Dark Toast" published in the West Wind Review.
I must admit I have learned more from you helping me with this book then I would have by taking a course or even reading about what to do. I think my book is much better and I have been able to include everything that is important. I really enjoyed the rewriting process. I am interested in seeing how we revise the synopsis and write the cover letter to agents. I look forward to working with you on the sequel.
NK, Athens, Canada
Thanks for all your helpful information on moving forward with the manuscript during our e-mail coaching sessions. I am truly grateful. All of your points are well taken. Your consultation has been so valuable.
LN, Piscataway, NJ
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