22. How to Commit to Writing

Let's continue last week’s discussion about goal setting, and explore how we commit to a goal.


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When we’re setting a goal for something we’ve never done before, it means we can’t look into our past to determine whether or not we are going to be successful at it. When there is no past evidence of success, what determines whether or not we will be successful, is how well we’re able to commit.


If you set a goal last week to write your first YA book, I want you to take an honest calculation of your level of commitment. On a scale of 1-10 where is it at right now?


Looking at that number you can predict your future success.


Many people confuse “want” with commitment. Your “want” to write a book might be at a 10. You might really want that book and you might even believe you can write it. But there is a difference when you’re committed. Committed means there is no other option but to achieve it.


Commitment is a choice. It’s something we can choose to generate and live up to. What determines how well we are able to commit is whether or not we have a strong reason to do so.


What makes commitment hard for so many people, is the risk that goes along with it. When you’re committing to something at a level 10, you’re risking a lot. There is a risk of failure, loss (time and opportunities), and there is a risk of negative emotions (like regret, stress or uncertainty). That's the difference between wanting something or believing in something, there is no risk to that. The risk only comes with commitment.


There is nothing wrong with you if you find commitment hard. Your brain just understands that there is a risk, and you haven’t yet convinced it that the risk is worth it.

What I’ve also seen happen to writers–if they go so far as to commit to writing a YA novel– is that their brain suddenly offers many alternatives. What about this blog post? What about working harder at my job? What this other story idea? What about exercising? Or cooking?


The brain keeps looking for different opportunities, trying to get out of that scary commitment. You've probably had this happen to you, where you commit to an idea, and then suddenly, you find yourself focusing on all the other story ideas you want to write.


You need a strong reason, even after you’ve made the commitment. You’re asking a lot of yourself, you need a good reason for it.


If you have a strong enough reason, commitment can be easy.

So let’s talk about how to get that.


The first you need to do is decide what you want. Listen to the last podcast on goal setting if you need help with this.


Decide what it is that you want, and when you want it.


Then complete our 6-page FREE WORKBOOK on Defining a Reason.


There are many things to consider when you’re writing your strong reason. It will take you multiple edits and you should keep refining it. But when you have it, write it down, stick it to your computer and read it every day. Remind you yourself why you are committed. Remind yourself that this risk is worth taking.


One of the benefits of joining a coaching program that requires an investment is that you’re a lot more likely to commit to your goal. Once you've made that investment, you’ve committed.


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Need more help defining a Reason?


Post in the Blockbuster YA Community Forum for free coaching and support.


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