Pursuing mastery of any skill - whether it’s sports, coding, acting, drawing, or writing - requires the willingness to be in a constant state of learning, continuously driving yourself towards the next level.
That's where I often find myself. Absorbed in learning. Seeking to understand. Ever pushing forward, even when I'm exhausted.
At this point in the journey, my two biggest obstacles are my writing speed and my lack of understanding on how to meaningfully connect with potential readers outside of the fiction world.
So I spent this past month working to make progress in those two areas.
Scenes play out in my mind like a movie stuck on repeat, but translating them into words can be such a struggle. There have been days where I fought for hours just to get a few hundred words onto the page, and with other obligations and responsibilities, I can't afford to waste writing time.
Digging into solutions for boosting my writing speed, I came across a couple of books.
- Crank It Out!: The Surefire Way to Become a Super-Productive Writer (The Writer's Toolbox #7) by C.S. Lakin
- 5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter by Chris Fox
Surprisingly, these two books had little overlap in information. Crank It Out! examined the relationship between natural biorhythms and productivity, while 5,000 Words Per Hour focused on mindset and training your brain through words sprints and consistency.
The biggest takeaways for me have been making a necessary mental shift and the time of day. I'm not a morning person, but my level of productivity increase if I start the day before seven in the morning. As for making a mental shift, the words sprint exercises helped me break through the struggle of getting words onto the page, and a dedicated workspace improved my focus.
Last week was my first full week putting the new knowledge into action, and it was the most productive week I've had to date - in terms of writing and balancing my other responsibilities.
If you're writing to reach people, to share your story with them, then one of your goals as a writer should be to connect with others. In an over-saturated market, it is unlikely the majority of readers will find you by chance. You need to be diligent about understanding social media and messaging to help readers find you.
Not just any readers, but the readers who will connect with your book.
I've spent a lot of time trying to understand how to connect meaningfully with readers, but it's always seemed elusive. The advice often makes sense. It's putting it into action that's tough.
Watching the Identifying Your Ideal Reader Writer Wednesday video posted on Katie Phillips' author page changed that for me. In it, she walks through crafting your writer's mission statement. It was this process and the resulting statement that was the missing piece I needed to bridge the gap between understanding how to connect meaningfully with readers and putting it into action.
I don't have it all figured out, and there's certainly more work to do in these areas, but, for the first time, it feels like I'm going in the right direction. Only time will tell.
What obstacles are you facing?