The truth is that in every area of life, people work better with a plan of action. Think about the basic tasks you have to accomplish each week: exercising, going to work, grocery shopping or getting your kids to all of their events. When it comes to sitting down to pen your own story, the same thing is true. Everyone writes better with a plan.
To begin writing your story, ask yourself these questions:
- What is your first step? This is more important than it sounds. Half the battle is starting the project.
- What do you need to do to get started?
- What is holding you back?
- What connections do you have or need to help you make this happen?
- What resources (e.g., time, money, genealogy research, computer) do you need?
- When will you complete what you want to do? Without a deadline, your idea is just an idea. When you have some sort of accountability, you’re more likely to finish what you start.
After you’ve answered those basic questions, consider 3 more:
- Are you willing to write your first-draft or do you want someone else to do it for you? Hiring a ghostwriter is a popular option and you shouldn’t hesitate to hire one if it’s right for you.
- Do you want to include pictures? If so, you’ll need to spend time collecting them.
- Do you want to publish your book in black and white or in color?
My guess is that the answer to the first question – what is your first step? – will be the toughest. So, as you’re in the middle of a season in which you have not started writing your story, consider these 7 tips that I’ve picked up over the years. They will help to kick start the process.
- Find a writing partner who will hold you accountable for writing each day.
- Jot down all your excuses for not writing and talk about them with your accountability partner.
- Pay yourself for showing up. Reward yourself for a job well done.
- Keep a daily journal on your progress. You will want to look back to see how much you’ve accomplished. This will especially be important on those days when you feel discouraged.
- Rid yourself of distractions by turning off your email, internet, phone, and TV.
- Write one sentence, then a paragraph, then a page. Be patient with yourself and take small steps each day.
- Use all of your senses. If you’re typically a thinker, let yourself put passion to paper. If you’re usually a feeler, give yourself permission to think. Tell your story in a multi-dimensional way.
Susan K Spaulding is an Author, Facilitator, Researcher, Strategist, Consultant, and Coach.
I work with businesses and leaders to take inventory, uncover the possibilities and navigate a path forward.
Storytelling is fundamental to learning, teaching, connecting and inspiring.