Last week Yvonne Rediger and I talked about her new romance novel--Diving in Heart First. Yvonne started writing at twelve years old but only became serious about writing and marketing her work later in life. After listening to the episode myself, there are a couple of things that stuck out for me that I think all writers could and should take note of:
1. Yvonne has built structure and habit into her writing life--she knows what her day will look like and then gets down to the work of it. In the morning she writes. In the evening she markets. In the middle she enjoys time with her husband.
Planning for success is something we often talk about. Structure makes it easier to reach out goals and should (hopefully!!) remove that nasty element of procrastination. Haha--I can take down any schedule--I am a master procrastinator so I am truly qualified to comment on this topic. When I procrastinate it's usually because I am struggling with something in the book (or in myself) so if you feel the urge to wash the dishes or make a phone call at your designated writing time, just take a minute to tune into what the trigger is--the fear--and then move through it and sit down to write any way (as Yvonne says in the interview--get it down on the page because you can't edit what you don't write). If you keep repeating the procrastination cycle, I recommend you read The Big Leap (see link below--I am part of Amazon's affiliate program and earn a very, very small commission when you purchase through that link--and no cost to you or the author). It's a great book that spells out what can hold us back right when we are on the verge of achieving success.
2. Yvonne is disciplined about her word count which allows her to move through first drafts pretty quickly. I'm not saying you must commit to 2000 words per day to find success, but it seems to me that working to a daily goal can help you stay on track. I use Storyist to write and the software allows me to set a daily word goal. When I reach my pre-determined word count goal the software dings, and I feel satisfied and proud!
Keep in mind that goals are good but rigid thinking is not. Indeed, rigid thinking kills creativity. How can you be creative when your mind is busy beating you up about missing a goal or striving to hit a word count instead of finding flow? We can get too stuck on rules and goals and then lose sight of the bigger picture. So hold your goals and word counts lightly. Make them doable. Set yourself up for success. Every word you write moves you towards your end goal. So if you have a day where you write 100 words, let it go. Like Steven Erikson said: "One day you might write 1000 words and the next day 11,000."
3. Yvonne has a support network of other writers and family and friends. We all need a cheering section to keep us going. Especially with writing novels where external rewards or recognition can be slim.
Find your people--the people who support you as a writer and friend--who know how to deliver constructive feedback in a positive way. It's next to impossible for most people to truly assimilate feedback that is presented negatively or with the intention to shame--your growth as a person and writer need not be littered with the detritus of another's ego!
4. Yvonne likes, accepts, and integrates feedback. This is scary for a lot of writers, new writers in particular. I know it scared the crap out of me but once you accept that feedback can make your work better and then also learn how to differentiate between poor and/or toxic feedback, your writing will improve and your book will be more likely to resonate with readers.
Did you miss the episode? Listen now!