I have, at various times, attempted to put their advice to work for me. But it seems that although I can use it to analyze what worked in retrospect as I’ve stumbled along accidently hitting on the right path. I’ve never sat down and tried to figure out the process before hand.
This time I thought I’d take a look at their methods and see what I can do to improve my ability to do my job. Also known as writing more! What I’m looking for are the “vital behaviors” that people almost universally express when they are doing a job well. To borrow an example from their book the vital behaviors for weight loss are the following – workout at home, eat breakfast, and weigh every day. So simple right?
So what are the vital behaviors for being a successful writer?
As one web article written by Marg Gilks states – WRITE – Writer’s write!
And every writer on the planet has a different patter that they swear by – write first thing in the morning, write X number of words a day, write a short story a week, do writing exercises, make yourself sit at the computer/writing paper for X hours even if you don’t do a thing and on and on and on.
Some writers need great swaths of uninterrupted time – others wrote their first novel while they were in meetings (must have been very dull meetings).
The only thing that all of them have in common is that “Writer’s write!”
Good writers, published writers, also edit and are not afraid to remove whole sections of text because it doesn’t fit. In fact they often rewrite and rewrite and rewrite again.
So now we have two vital behaviors – writing and rewriting.
We also have another vital behavior – reading! Writers read a lot. For pleasure, for how others have handled character, plot, dialogue, and to know what others in their field are writing. Like all business people they keep abreast of what is going on in their industry. The more you know about the business of writing the less likely you are to make fundamental mistakes.
Oh, and don’t forget – working writers have people read their work, friends, colleagues, and editors. They submit their work for critique and publication.
So now we have the four vital behaviors – write, rewrite, read, submit.
But how do we move from knowing to implementing?
Several months ago I decided that I needed to write every day – or as close to that goal as possible. Since I’ve started the blogs I’ve considered myself a success on that front. But I found, to my chagrin, that although I was writing I wasn’t writing as much fiction. My new goal is to write 5,000 words a day.
This week’s Vital Smarts Newsletter on how to find vital behaviors helped put some of my new ideas of how to increase my productivity into focus.
“Create a Process-Flow Chart”
Map the day from beginning to end. What does it look like, are there some days you are more productive than others, anything special about those days? Then map an ideal day. What would an ideal day look like what happens when and what does it contain or eliminate?
So I’m going to try this over the next few weeks and collect data on what my day looks like and what makes me more or less productive to see if I can refine my processes more so that I am more prolific. Sometimes it isn’t just what you do but when you do it.
What things to you have on your resolution list that could use some thoughtful analysis of what it takes – from vital behaviors to creating the environment – to succeed?
~ Tess Anderson