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Seven Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Way to Your Writing Goals

As winter eases into spring, it’s traditional to clean a house thoroughly from top to bottom. For those who live in cold climates, it helps get rid of the winter blues. For everyone it is a time for decluttering, organizing, and maintaining your home for another year.

Whether you engage in this annual tradition or not, you must agree it can clear not just the cobwebs in your house, but lighten your mood, brighten your outlook, and boost your well-being.

But why stop at spring cleaning your home. As an author, this is a good time to spring clean your way to your writing goals.

Here are seven tips for getting started:

1. Start on the inside

What are your values and goals? Are you choosing activities and behavior in keeping with your values and moving you toward your writing goals?

How are you feeling physically and mentally? Listen to your body and mind. Pain,discomfort or troubling thoughts are signals of potential problems. Don’t ignore them. Examine them and if necessary get help from a doctor, coach, or other professional.

As a writer you can help relieve troubling thoughts by journaling about them. Some writers use these ideas and thoughts from the past to begin their memoirs. For additional help in unblocking your creativity, see The Artist’s Way
by Julia Cameron

2. Discard what no longer works for you

  • Replace tattered thoughts. I’m referring to that self-talk about what you don’t want. It’s time to change to positive affirmations about what you do want.
  • Remove stains of the past. They have no place in your present. Start with the “if-only-I-had-done-this” thoughts about events you cannot change. If you’ve always wanted to write a book, don’t dwell on how many years have passed, get started now.
  • Eradicate those moldy thoughts. You know the ones I mean, the ones that hold you back. Perhaps no one in your family or anyone you know ever wrote a book, so you didn’t think you could either. Or maybe you always wanted to live in another place but your family made you believe that you couldn’t survive away from them. When you change these thoughts, you will change your circumstances.

3. Enlist support of family members, friends or colleagues who believe in you

Surround yourself with friends, family and colleagues who share your values. Combine your efforts and share your growth and celebrate your successes.

Negative Nellies and toxic people have no place in your life. They only celebrate when you fail.

4. Polish your strengths to a high shine

Use your strengths to move toward your writing goals and help others. Perhaps you are great at decorating, for example. Beautify your own space, then volunteer your services at a nonprofit organization or a senior citizen in your neighborhood who lives alone. Finally, write about your experiences in an article, ebook or book.

5. Make those unfinished tasks/repairs you’ve been postponing

You know what they are. For some it’s going to the doctor for an exam. For others it may be finishing school. Perhaps you promised yourself you were going to take better care of your feet, hair, hands. You may have thought of improving your eating habits. Now is a good time to make even one small change and use those experiences to help you have the energy and confidence to complete your writing.

6. Plant new seeds

Spring is a great time to do something new. If you’ve been thinking about writing a book but didn’t know how to start, sign up for a class or hire a coach. Even one small step forward, like my eCourse, Rockin’ Your Book, will put you on your way. Get started now.

7. Commit to maintaining your changes, improvements, and new growth

By committing to the changes you made and continuing to work toward your goal, you will ensure that you reach them. The time spent in spring cleaning your life to achieve your writing goals pays off.

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Article by Flora Brown

Flora Brown is an author, blogger, speaker, and book coach. She's the creator of "Rockin' Your Book" an eCourse delivered to your emailbox.

If you like this post, you can keep up with the latest information from Color Your Life Published by subscribing to updates at the top of this site. When you do, you'll be able to download a free copy of the eBook, "It's Time to Write Your Book."

Originally published on April 11, 2012. Updated on March 4, 2015.

 

One Surefire Way to Improve Your Writing

Staring at a blank sheet of paper or Word document as you start an article, a blog post or  your book is a scary thing. It stops the flow of creativity in even the most talented writer. As for newcomers to the process, it can kill the dream at the start.

Published writers, editors and publishers offer much advice about what you should do before you write your book. Most say you should create an outline or put pressure on yourself by announcing your plan to the world.

One thing that is extremely helpful to authors as they are writing their book is market research. You may have heard this term used as it relates to consumer research for marketing services and products, but it is also a very relevant practice for writers, too!

One of the best kind of “market research” is studying an author you admire.

There are three good reasons for this.

1. Inspiration

The mere fact that a favorite author has successfully shared her ideas in print is encouraging, especially at the start when your first words seem out of reach. Observing the author use words you can understand to unfold concepts before your very eyes will give you encouragement and often call forth your ideas that until now were too shy to reveal themselves.

2. Guidance

It is very instructive to turn an analytical eye to the work of an admired author or even the top authors in your genre, whether you admire them or not. You can learn about writing, structuring and publishing all in one place.

First, pay attention to how you approach the book as a reader: check out the title, author’s name, quick scan of front cover, flip over to back cover looking for proof that this book will keep the promise of its title and solve your problem or fill your need.

Second, go inside the book to see how the author delivers on his promise. How does he begin, develop and end the chapters? Is the book light-hearted, humorous or serious, with lessons and activities? Are there quotes, stories, illustrations, and if so, do they add to the message? Are there examples to make key points clear or does the author pose questions and leave you to reflect?

3. Direction

After you have read, examined and analyzed the book, you will begin to see gaps in what and how the author wrote his book and how you want to write yours.

You will notice omissions, ideas she didn’t cover or information glazed over that you’d like to explain in more depth in your book.

You will begin to see missing evidence you would set forth to support ideas in your book that somehow the author in question neglected.

In this phase you will begin to see your book emerge as distinctive. Even though it may be on the same or similar topic or style and isn’t even written yet, you will begin to see the gap your book will fill in the literature.

You will be able to visualize the books currently on the bookstore shelf moving closer together making just enough space on the shelf for your upcoming book to join them.

There are two more very practical reasons to study another author or authors in your genre:

  1. You will be able to return to them when your confidence wanes along the way (and it will).
  2. If you plan to approach a literary agent or submit directly to a traditional publisher, this will be a required part of your proposal, without which they will not even consider your manuscript.

Using these techniques and tips will keep you moving forward on your path to writing your articles, blog posts or your own book. Start putting them into action today!