Writing Advice of the Week: Support Your Book-Sized Ambition

Reading Time: 10 minutes
(Image by Fallon Clark via Firefly.)

It’s January, and it seems like everyone and their mother is talking about resolutions.

I get it.

New Year, New You.

Or New Year, Better You.

Whatever your resolution slogan flavor, there’s a lurker out there just waiting to sell your ambitions back to you this month when your leftover holiday spirits are high and the February slump hasn’t set in.

  • Gurus with hacks for habit-forming
  • 21-day challenges
  • Techniques to set you on the “write” foot

(Can you hear Auld Lang Syne in the background too? Anyhoo . . . )

But I’m not a fan of resolutions, at least not out loud.

While it’s important to set goals and improve yourself, it may be wise to keep your goals close to the chest until you’ve made progress. Get the dopamine from the work itself, rather than getting it from the idea of the work (which may translate to never actually doing the work).

Because according to Forbes, 94% of people who make resolutions don’t actually achieve them. And there’s a lot of psychological research to explain why that may be. A study in Nature shows that dopamine spikes when we speak our goals into the world . . . even if we do exactly zero things to achieve them.

So avoid the resolution trap and get real about what you want and how you’re going to get it.

The first of this week’s writing advice comes from Sabrina Ricci for Digital Pubbing, who gives us 6 Pieces Of Advice Perfect For All Creators, and this article really is applicable to all creators. Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, books or blogs, Sabrina’s six points are the foundation of building a business through creation in the digital age. The very first nugget of truth in the article is that “Imposters don’t get imposter syndrome, so if you’re feeling that way, you’re probably further along than you think.”

How’s that for practical positivity? (I mean, you can hear Auld Lang Syne, right?)

And if you’re bursting through imposter syndrome and taking the initiative to step into your own authorly shoes, don’t forget to keep those dopamine hits coming. Maybe We Should Be Rewarding Our Writing Achievements More, says Nicole Pyles for WOW! Women On Writing Blog. I am all here for this one.

In case you need to hear this, it’s okay to feel good about your writing, to celebrate it.

When you create goals and set to work knockin’ ’em down, hitting those milestone achievements along the way to the Big Ambition, take time to appreciate the journey, to stop and smell the progress. Nicole offers some great ways to reward yourself for a job well done. From chocolate to courses, check out her recommendations for inspiration when needed.

Now, if you find yourself nodding while simultaneously asking yourself how to create goals to tackle or wondering where to find some creative things to try to make your writing time more productive, check out the article, Meet Your Writing Goals This Year With These Valuable Tips by Lynn H. Blackburn for The Write Conversation. Lynn reviews a few ways to structure your writing time, schedule your writerly events, connect with folks in the writing world, and more.

And about those events and connections . . .

Writing is a business. And while it’s true that the stories that readers emotionally connect to the most are those borne of passion and written from the heart, the act of writing is itself a business. And since it is the beginning of the calendar year, it’s time to think about the business of writing. Check out this video on How To Create A Business Plan As An Author by Trudi Jaye, Cheryl Phipps, Wendy Vella and Shar Barratt for Self Publishing Info with the SPA Girls that gives practical information for business planning. And there’s a business plan download waiting in the links if you need a launching point.

Now about those sales.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of direct sales. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed at the prospect, that maybe having sales help may be beneficial, give a list to this podcast episode by Sacha Black on Beautiful Books And Selling Direct With Angela J. Ford. Hear about book boxes, marketing, sourcing design help, and building your sales platform to take the guesswork out of the process. And with direct sales, you retain control over your work and get to influence your readers’ experiences.

A moment of caution: Make sure you have your original book files. Kathleen Kaiser for Writers and Publishers Network says, Authors, You Need To Have The Original Files For Your Book. Whether you’re self-publishing, working with a hybrid publisher, or have another arrangement, it’s important that you have a PDF of the books interior and cover . . . just in case. Kathleen explains why and alludes to some possible changes coming to Amazon’s e-book space, which could have significant ramifications for book publishing.

And speaking of Kindle, wrapping up this week’s writing advice comes from Dave Chesson for Kindlepreneur. Dave’s article, Book Idea Validation Mastery: Is Your Book Idea A Bestseller?, gives practical steps you can take to test the market for your story idea. There’s quite a lot to unpack, and there are several research tools mentioned, so check out what’s available, adapt to your needs, and line up those authorly goals of yours.

It’s time to achieve.

Happy writing!

More Productivity Advice for the Week (Click to expand)
More Craft Advice for the Week (Click to expand)
More Business Advice for the Week (Click to expand)

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Or watch me discuss this week’s writing advice on video:

Fallon Clark is a Vermont-based manuscript development coach and editor serving fiction and creative non-fiction authors. Her writing has been published in Flash Fiction Magazine. Check out her website, FallonEdits.com, or connect with her on LinkedIn or Substack.

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