When I tell people that my family loves to travel and we really love
The same goes for writing and publishing. I am sure a lot of you suddenly find you are around a lot of people who are “writing a novel” as soon as you tell them you are a writer. I bet you hear the same thing “You know, I’d love to write a book, but…” I even hear this from people who do claim to be a writer. Many who participate in conferences to the National level. Writers who take classes and then, when you ask them about where they plan on selling their book to, they suddenly back peddle and end up with that same comment, “Gosh, I’d love to but…”
Right after my wife and I got married we had a students stay with us because her family couldn’t afford the room and board at the private college she was attending. We knew her through speech and debate (my wife and I were both high school and college coaches), so this seemed like a great fit. Since that time, she has gone on to earn her graduate and undergraduate degrees, started working in the juvenile court system and eventually moved to a position in the upper ranks of Homeland Security as a director. She has also gone on to have a great family with two wonderful kids. Her success stemmed from that same attitude of not seeing the limits to what she can do.
Along the way though, she also learned of these 4 magic questions. When she learned about them, she was working in the juvenile lock up, but since that time she (and we have to) found that the 4 magic questions worked for anyone who was struggling with making the right decision, or simply using the whole “Gosh, I wish I could” argument.
1. What do you want?
2. What are you doing to get it?
3. How is that helping?
4. What should you be doing?
Let’s look at each of the questions in a bit more detail.
- What do you want? This one solidifies what the person really wants out of life. For some unpublished writers, they simply have no idea. Sometimes they find that they don’t even want to write. Hmmm? What you do you think they should do? For the published author, they too have to identify what they really want out of their publishing life.
- What are you doing to get it? This one really hurts because now the writer is faced with seeing that the problem doesn’t lie with other people, but lies within their own actions. If a published author, with a career that goes flat looks at the first two idea, they see just what is in front of them. Let’s assume they say they want to go on to bigger and more advanced books, but what they are doing right now is simply writing the same style they have been doing all along because “this is what they know.” Suddenly, they see the problem.
- How is that helping? Hmmm? If I don’t change my writing. If I don’t attend conferences. If I don’t find a critique partner. If I don’t write daily? The answer will always be “It isn’t helping”
- What should you be doing? This is the goal setting step. This is where you make a plan. Look, if you want to be a professional writer, make that plan to write daily.
The key to all of this stems from how active or passive you are in your own life. When I first started the agency, people looked at me and questioned if I could do it? I look back now at those people and can clearly say yes. Now, do I have bigger goals down the line? You better believe it. Will I get there? I am betting yes. My question to you is: Will you make it?
Scott C. Eagan