Writing can be a long process. It is sometimes difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel, especially if you are writing something particularly long or complicated. A win can feel a long way away, and that in itself can be demoralizing. However, it doesn’t have to be like that! Here’s my message of hope – no matter what you’re writing, or how long it will take you, it is possible to win along the way! If you follow the steps below, you’ll see how writers can win every day! Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be able to use these wins to become a more motivated writer.
No matter what you’re writing, or how long it will take you, it is possible to win along the way!
Writers without wins
First, a cautionary tail. If you don’t define any wins you run a really big risk of falling into a situation where you don’t give yourself any credit for any of your hard work. You’ll keep working, but without sense of achievement.
When you don’t feel like you’ve achieved anything, that’s when the little voice starts to whisper in your head. You tell yourself that nothing that you are doing is worthwhile. Without the wins, writing can become a struggle. You will start to feel like you need to turn away from it.
Why writers need wins
A writer with wins is a much happier creature. They tick through their word count and practically skip to the keyboard each day (maybe not skip – they are still writers). By putting in some wins you’ll feel better about your writing, and you’ll be encouraged to write more. Each win will give you a great feeling and will in turn encourage you to talk to people about your work. You’ll do it online, in person or over the phone. Those discussions are also really important. They will engage people (and a potential audience) in whatever you’re writing, and create a sense of anticipation for what you’re working on. You’ll be more positive about your writing, and I guarantee that no matter how small you think your wins are, they will all start to add up to some bigger ones!
I’ve written before about why motivation is such a key thing for writers – when I was coming up with this post, I realised just how important it is.
What is a win?
Wins come in all shapes and sizes, and vary by the writer. Think of it like a class of children taking a test. A result of 50% might not seem like a high mark to you, but to the child who struggled with the topic, or had an illness that kept them off school, it is a massive achievement.
The same holds true across so many things in live. Sport, business, art – within anything where there is a definition of “success” (how I hate that world).
If you’re an experienced writer, a win might be another published novel. If you’re currently working through the your first draft, another thousand words might be your win. the steps below will help you identify something that’s going to be difficult but achievable.
How writers can win every day
This is a short but important process. You need to consider a few different factors.
Think about something that you’re working on.
- What’s your long term goal for it? (the next 12 months)
- What are your short term goals for it? (the next month)
- What are you immediate goals for it? (the next day)
So, I’ve done an example for my current WiP (a novel):
- To finish a three book series
- To finish the current book with about seventy to eighty thousand words total.
- To write the next thousand words.
You should have three separate things on your list. These are your wins. Number one should be a really difficult one. The one that you think you won’t reach tomorrow, and is going to take at least 12 months. In my example, finishing a 3 book series probably won’t be done in 12 months. However, it would be amazing (and a massive win) if I could do that. Number two should be achievable in the next month. Key to deciding this will be looking at your workload, seeing what you should concentrate on and choosing something to stretch you. And number three should be the easiest. It should be achievable in the next 24 hours. It should be pretty easy to do, but still feed into the two longer term wins above it.
How to use wins to become a more motivated writer
Now comes for the fun bit. Next to the wins, write down what you’ll do to reward yourself when you achieve it. For number three this should, ideally, be something simple. They should get more complicated as you move up the scale. So number one should be something absolutely awesome! Note that awesome doesn’t have to be expensive. Here’s my examples:
- Have a launch party!
- Book a posh meal somewhere.
- Watch the next episode of Stranger Things.
It’s important to increase the rarity of the win rewards depending on their difficultly. So, for example, Stranger Things isn’t that rare a thing for me to do. So by making that my first reward I have created an easy reward for the easiest target, but nothing that will drive me to tears if I don’t achieve it. The posh meal is something I do every now and again, but not a routine. So I’ll feel a little more special for achieving that. And a party – well that never happens. So that’ll be fun!
I’d love to here about your wins. Send me an email, or post a comment below to celebrate your wins!
Why writers need wins
By getting yourself into a win and reward system you will start to feel better about your writing. If you feel better about your writing, you’ll start to write better. And if you’re writing is better, you’ll be more productive. A happy writer is a productive writer!
Images from Pexels.