March 31, 2014

Cooking Up Writers P’s

By Kathy Carlton Willis

“Strive for Progress, not Perfection.” – Unknown

I write 3-4 books per year. Other writers ask me how I’m so productive. What works for me might not work for you, but here’s my secret. I always have projects on every “burner.” On my front burners are items that have the most urgent deadlines, or have the most prep already done. This one can cook! But on the back burners, I have other projects in various stages of completion. I’m aware they are there, but they don’t get my front burner attention.

Every time I get a brainstorm or run across something that will work with a back-burner project, I add it to the pot (actually, a computer file). When it’s finally time to bring the project to the front burner, it’s ready to cook. There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank screen. That’s how writer’s block happens. But I never have a blank screen since I’ve been compiling the ingredients already on the back burner.

Keep in mind the Law of Inertia. An object at rest stays at rest. An object in motion stays in motion. A locomotive that stopped for a break takes more energy to get going again that the train that’s chugging along. So keep at it, don’t be waylaid by social networking, website tweaking or some other shiny thing that distracts your attention. Notice I said distracts rather than attracts.

Perhaps it could be said the difference between writers and authors is that writers explore the process of writing so much that they get trapped in perfection and procrastination. An author pursues making progress, productivity and creating the end product.

Sometimes, exploring different ways of writing your material is simply another way of procrastinating clicking send. Declaring a project complete is so liberating! And if you insist on toying with your wording longer, you might find yourself trapped in the vortex of writing for a while. Develop a sense of urgency, even if you have to insist on a self-enforced deadline.

To start or kick start a project, the end goal has to mean more than the snoozing lull of procrastination. Then you’ll be able to move forward and not feel stuck.

Review These Important “P” Words for Writers
·  Process. Explore various styles and voices in writing.
·  Progress. See measurable advancement toward completion.
·  Perfection. Process of delaying progress in pursuit of the perfect paragraph.
·  Product. Pursuit of the end goal more than the process.
·  Procrastination. The art of delay due to fear of failure. You say you’re enjoying the process of writing. But really, you are struggling with hitting send because it’s not perfect enough.
·  Purpose. Stay true to your voice, your brand, your audience, and your goals.
·  Proofreading. The ability to self-edit your work or accept the changes of an outside editor, knowing the work will be enhanced by the corrections or suggestions.

Once you mind your P’s, you will enjoy seeing your work published. How convenient—another P!
Kathy Carlton Willis spins many plates as writer, speaker and coach. She has a toolkit full of resources and is frequently invited to coach writers one-on-one or at seminars. Kathy serves on faculty with CLASSeminars and is a member/trainer of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Kathy writes and speaks with a balance whimsy and wisdom. Speaker to Speaker: The Essential Speaker’s Companion releases soon through OakTara. Kathy serves alongside her pastor husband, Russ, in ministry. Network with Kathy at:
Twitter: @KCWComm
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