As I enter the final wrap-up stage of Relatively Risky, the first book in my The Big Uneasy series—pause here to do my end zone celebration—I now face another start line. Yes, I know I mixed my sports up. How’s this? I’m back to the scrimmage line. You would think that characters and plot would not line up against you. You’re telling their story, after all. But characters can be surprisingly bitter, even the good ones.
When I started my grand adventure in becoming a world famous author, I launched into my first project with enormous enthusiasm. I donned my virtual tutu and twirled with excitement (inside my own head. I try not to torture real people in my life.). But after thirteen novels, three non-fiction projects, twelve (?) short stories and what feels like a million blogs my excitement about starting is tempered by knowing what it takes to finish.
I have two daughters who are runners. I’ve watched them work at it, hurt from it, and run through rain, sleet and snow. I have enormous admiration for them both. I’ve also learned a lot from them.
Whether you are starting a race, a book, or a new project of any kind, you need to:
- Prepare. Running and writing require training. Find out what you need to know and then do it. This is also a good time to assemble a support group. I’ve noticed both girls run better when they have support on the ground. Good prep and good support helps you generate the excitement you need to…
- Show up. Whether you show up for the race, at the computer, or your chosen project there is no starting until you get there. If you’re racing, you need to check in, get that bib. If you’re writing, open the program and put that blank page on the screen. Get to where you need to be for your thing. Once you’re there, it just makes sense to…
- Start. I would imagine the peer pressure to start a physical race is pretty intense. You’re there. You’re wearing the bib. People see you either run or not run. The blank page is kind of indifferent. Many projects are like that. We’re alone with it. There is no audience to clap and cheer, but if you’ve done your prep, then you have peeps on board, and can tap into their support to get started. Because no one likes to admit to the peeps you didn’t do it. You should also…
- Cheer yourself on. Too often people focus on what they did wrong, on what they didn’t get done, rather than acknowledging that they did something. I find it helps to set some small, quantifiable goals with small, specific rewards. They can carry you to the point where the act of doing becomes the reward. You clock those miles. The blank page starts to fill up. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Movement is all that is required for starting.
I found this excellent post on how to build in good habits from one of my favorite blogs, Copywriter. There are some additional productivity articles and I loved: You Had One Job…LOL And for my writing friends, here’s a great blog/book on boosting your word count with great prep work by Rachel Aaron.
Of course, I know that starting is not finishing. So next Monday we’ll talk about sagging middles. There might be a girdle analogy. That’s either a warning or a promise.
So, please share your starting thoughts? Feelings? Hate? Love? Your tips for getting movement? All comments are entered into my monthly drawing for $10 AnaBanana gift card. Winner is announced in the first blog post of the new month
Pauline Baird Jones is thrilled to be finishing her 13th novel and returning to her romantic suspense roots. Relatively Risky will release in March, 2013. It features a brooding hero who is afraid of kids, a quirky heroine who attracts kids, and New Orleans (which is weird and wonderful!). There are also lots of bad guys. And some kids. But not a lot. One can only torture a hero so far before he bolts.