Real talk: Each of us, every single one, has something inside us that we’re meant to do. Whether or not we do it is another story. (Hah, get it? Writer joke.) If you want your story to be a success, you need to make sure you know what you’re meant to do. With all the options you have, are you sure you want to be a writer?
Does this mean destiny? No.
It means you’ve got the potential to do something great with your life, and that great thing could be writing a novel (or several!)—or it might not be. If you want to be a writer, you’ve got to make writing your priority.
So, let’s get down to business. PRIORITIES. Yes, an adult word.
Want to be a writer? Know the difference between your goals and your priorities.
- Goals: End results you want to achieve
- Be a successful published author
- Get that Amazon Bestseller tag on at least one of your books
- Have a group of other author friends you can count on
- Priorities: Things you need to get done to be the person you’re meant to be
- The steps you must take to reach your TOP goals
- e.g. Finish the first draft, edit the draft to make sure it stays in Deep POV, choose the right Amazon keywords to get your book in front of people who’d want to read it
How to keep your goals from ruining your priorities
Have you ever had so many easy goals that you never got around to the really important ones? Here’s an example:
I once wanted to learn how to beatbox. Because it was quicker than writing a novel, I focused on that first instead of working on the novel. Even though being a published author was my TOP goal. (I did learn to beatbox, but it took over 10 years to finish the novel.)
That’s bad prioritizing!
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If you really want to be a writer, you’ve got to make writing a priority.
But maybe you don’t know how to pick your TOP goals, so you don’t know how to prioritize. Ask yourself these questions to discover if you really want to be a writer.
1. Who am I right now?
Who you are at this moment can show you what you’ve already achieved, and what you’ve focused on in the past. To find out if you’re meant to be a writer, ask yourself if the person you are right now could become one or already is one.
What if the person you are right now could never be a writer? What if the thought of writing every day for the rest of your life sounded like torture and not happiness?
If that’s the case, then maybe you don’t want to be a writer.
Who are you right now?
You can be anyone you want to be, but you can’t force something that isn’t right. Maybe writing isn’t what you want to do. That’s okay. You can choose something else. You can be a modern Leona or Leonardo da Vinci.
Write down all the ways you define yourself.
Don’t worry about whether it’s good or bad information, just write. Keep writing until you can’t think of anything else that currently defines you. When you’re done, read it over. You’ll be surprised by the themes you find.
Are these aspects of yourself compatible with being a writer?
Would you have to change, adapt, or evolve to become the writer you want to be?
Or does change sound terrible? If evolving so writing becomes a priority in your life sounds unappealing, then you may not really want to be a writer.
2. Who do I want to be?
What parts of your “Who am I?” list were… unfinished? In progress? A struggle to think about?
Write them out again without the “aspiring,” hopeful,” “trying” qualifiers. Those are crap words. Put some oomph into this because it’s you. It’s your dream. You deserve oomph.
What do you want?
Is it any of these? Is it something else? Make a list.
- I want to finish my first novel
- I want people to read my first novel
- I want to be able to write full-time
- and so on
These are the things you want to strive for, and they’re a good indicator of the kind of person you want to be. If you take the time to be complete and honest with yourself, your Magnum Opus will be hidden in here somewhere.
Sometimes our true goals are hidden in the multitude. This is why you need to see everything you want, all together, in one spot.
3. How do I want to be known?
While you shouldn’t base your life on how other people perceive you, there is value in thinking about it. It helps us to see ourselves objectively. We observe what we want to be known as and then observe the distance between there and where we currently are.
Our desire to be perceived a certain way is a good indicator to what we want to achieve.
It can be a very intimate, very enlightening look into our psyches. It’s hard to do because it requires a level of honesty with ourselves that can be painful or stressful, especially if we don’t feel like we’re making the progress we need to make.
The things you put on this list may be items you’ve already achieved and want to support — like if you’re already a novelist and you want to sell more of your books — or they may be things you’re still working towards.
List out all the things you can think of: How do you want people to see you?
You don’t have to share this with anyone else, so be as honest as you can. Make sure you aren’t cheating yourself by leaving something out that needs to be there just because you’re afraid, ashamed, or nervous of writing it down.
N.B. All that being said: really, truly, try not to give too many fucks about other people’s opinions of you, unless they are truly areas that are blind spots for you. In that case, listen to the opinions, evaluate them, maybe get a neutral third party to evaluate them, too, and then decide what, if anything, you will do about those opinions.
You don’t owe anyone (except yourself) anything.
You can’t live your life worrying about other people.
4. When I think of my perfect life, what’s in it?
A quick trip to your Pinterest boards, old diaries, or Google search history should give you a good start here. 😉
Imagine a mood board of your life. What’s in it? Write it down.
- Rave reviews for your new book, every time you publish
- Healthy and pain-free with your ergonomic writing station
- Happy and fulfilled by both your ‘real life’ and your writing life
- In a supportive relationship or happily single
- Free of debt (because your writing pays all the bills!)
- Enjoying your work, whether that be writing full-time or having a separate career
- Living part of the year in another country, just because
- Traveling once a month
- Close relationships with family
- A simpler life, free of mental and physical clutter
Get some focus. Create your opus.
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Your Utopia: What does it look like? Who’s in it? What’s in it?
More importantly, what isn’t in it?
5. What inspires me to write?
If you’re the ambitious type, goals can inspire you to write. Sometimes, just thinking about the end result can help keep you going when it feels tough. Imagine that beautiful book cover on bookstore shelves worldwide!
What goals inspire you? When are you are most productive? This can give you insight on whether you really want to be a writer—because if writing doesn’t inspire you, maybe it’s not a TOP goal.
Then ask yourself what you need to be productive.
If 11 year-olds can start a business that lasts 86 years, you can finish an 86k word novel! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #writingmotivation #authormotivation #writermotivation #writinginspiration #writinginspirationiseverywhere #finishyourbook #finishyournovel #writershelpingwriters #aspiringauthor
For me, I need sleep. A lot of it. Eight hours minimum to be at my peak performance, 6 to be human. It’s also great if a personal crisis didn’t come up the night before – one of those can throw me off for a whole day, sometimes a week if it’s a big one.
So I do my best to set myself up for writing inspiration the night before. I put the baby to bed, do some stretches to wind down, get my email inbox to zero, and try to get to bed early enough that when the baby wakes up hungry, I can still net 6 or 7 hours of sleep.
Do your best to keep your environment in an optimal place to write. Maybe that means…
- A light at the end of the tunnel
- Adequate sleep
- Not hangry
- Toilet not overflowing
- Apartment clean and clutter-free
- A writing buddy to chat with
HEY! Interested in meeting more writing friends? Join us at the new Indie Author Alchemy Community on Discord! LINK HERE.
Combine your motivators with the things you need to be at your best. This is the state you’ll want to be in as often as possible to get the best writing time in.
Are you ready to be a writer?
You should have 5 lists now. Those 5 lists should begin to show a theme of your life. The topics that keep coming up are the topics that will most likely be part of what you’re meant to do with your life. I hope the common thread is writing because the world needs more writers like you.
But if it’s not, that’s okay.
Not everyone is meant to be a writer. Don’t let social pressure shove you into a box you don’t really want to fit in.
The only thing left is to clarify those topics into defined things: Who I am, and who I want to be. Try writing your final Magnum Opus out that way:
What’s it going to be? Do you really want to be a writer?