Why a vision board isn’t the answer to finishing your book (or why systems trump goals).

When was your last writing date?⁠

When is your next?⁠

If your answer to either of those questions is ‘I don’t know’, then it’s time to put writing on your calendar my friend.

A regular writing habit—one thing that the most prolific, most published and most contented writers have in common (it’s true, they’ve actually done studies on this stuff).⁠

⁠It doesn’t need to be every day and of course, everyone is different, but the it’s obvious really—the more often you write, the more you’ll have written.

So, don’t wait for inspiration to strike—write. Put writing on your calendar. Let others in your life know you have an appointment. And then keep it.⁠

Over and again.⁠

Little by little.⁠

Or, as Anne Lamott would say, bird by bird*.⁠

Give your writing the status it deserves

Next time someone needs to do an emergency run to the shops as it’s world book day and your son needs a Dog Man outfit before 9am, you’ll be safe. You’ll have a work appointment in the calendar. Someone else can go, or he can get creative and make a pirate patch.

For many of us who work flexibly in our businesses, it’s all to easy to put non ‘client-facing’ time at the back of the queue and fit our creative projects around the our billable hours (and every other has-to-be-done-right-now-or-the-world-is-going to-end piddling little errand). Not surprisingly, our creative projects are then the first to go. Why not try flipping it? Block out your creative projects first and fit the client-facing time around this.

Just because your writing isn’t billable in the short term, doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be the real needle mover for your business in the long term.

What value can you put on long form blog content, an ebook or an article on Medium?

What you can do today:

Take out your calendar and schedule writing times for the next week. Start with 15 minutes, then each day, increase the time by 2 minutes.

Make sure you know what you’re going to be writing each day before you sit down to write. This will stop you frittering away the time reading through what you wrote the day before.

Set your timer for your session, and don’t do anything but write in that time. If you want to keep writing after the timer goes off, then do. Often the hardest part is getting started.

Systems first, not goals

As James Clear notes in Atomic Habits*, it’s not the goals that get us there, but the systems. So instead of thinking, ‘I really need to finish my book’, identify the one small step you can take today, and tomorrow, and the next day to move you closer to your goal.

And if you’re already writing regularly, then give yourself a high five! You’ve nailed one of the key mindset fundamentals for writers.

What’s your best tip to keep writing?⁠

Comment below and let me know.

If you’re ready to get serious and smash those writing goals, I have still have a limited number of 1:1 Power Hour sessions available for April/May.

At the end of our session, you’ll be flowing with ideas to move your writing forward and you’ll know the EXACT next right steps to take.

*If you decide to buy books from the links in this post, then I get a small percentage of the price. I only recommend books I love and that I think will help you 🙂

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