A Post About Dedication

dedicationI couldn’t get to sleep last night thinking of all the things I was going to do to feel better about myself — eat better, exercise more, get up earlier, recommit to walking the doggies, etc. And I got to thinking — it’s all a matter of dedication. Of sitting yourself down and saying, “Look. You want MORE than this, and you can get it. But you have to work for it. Nothing comes easy.”

And as true as that is for self-improvement, it’s also true about writing, and your search for publication.

Nothing comes easy. Your novel didn’t spring fully-formed like Athena from the head of Zeus. Even if the idea might have, you still had to sit yourself down and write it out. And when the writing was hard, when the words didn’t flow, you still had to sit down and hammer away at it.

I’m following a number of writers on Twitter, and I love seeing their updates on their writing: “revising chapter 3 of 19” “cut 2,000 words!”, “brainstorming”, etc. It’s WORK.

So you sit yourself down and you make it happen — not in one fell swoop, not like magic, but a little every day until it’s done. And then you share it with other people. Think this part only applies to writing? Pshaw! How often do you tell someone something you’re going to do, because the act of saying so makes it happen? We write it in public — “I need to lose x pounds,” “I need to revise my novel,” “I’m going to run a triathlon,” “I’m going to submit to agents” — and the saying of it makes it real. Makes YOU accountable.

Blogs are brilliant for this, as is Twitter and Facebook, because it makes it real. But it doesn’t even need to be that public, if that makes you uncomfortable. Commit to yourself by putting your deadlines in a calendar. Set up a daily/weekly/monthly event. Monday, 10am: 500 words. Tuesday, 11:15am: Nia class. Wednesday, 5pm: Book club.

Dedicate yourself to the task, whatever it is.

Look, New Year’s Resolutions only happen in January, NaNoWriMo happens in November, and even BEDA is only in April (or possibly August). Make your OWN commitments, and you can do it any time of the year. They don’t have to be big. Don’t think you can write a 50,000 word novel in a month? Promise yourself you’re going to write 4,000 words a week — 200 words a day — lose four pounds in two weeks. Make it small to start, and watch as those numbers add up.

Find your own support group, whether it’s other writers, your husband, your friends, a group of people you met at a bookstore, your online community. Check in with each other regularly, and do something REAL.

If you can do that, you can do just about anything.

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