Stay Flexible

With so many demands on your time, it’s easy to push your dream of becoming a published writer to the end of the list and place it in the “someday I’ll” file. Here are a couple of suggestions to help you achieve your writing ambitions.

Since the most important goal is to keep writing, consider working on two projects; a longer project like a novel or feature length screenplay and a shorter project like a short story or an essay. If you feel overwhelmed by the longer project, take a break and work on the smaller project. Finishing the shorter project will give you a feeling of accomplishment, and you’ll be ready to tackle the literary behemoth again.

I’m working on a science fiction novel, but I recently took a break to write an article, “Formats: The Keys to Your Potential,” which was published in the July 2017 issue of Opal: A Magazine For Canadian Authors and Writers.

Set deadlines for your work to help you keep focused, but accept the fact that you’ll have to adapt to changes in your life. Write down what you’re writing goals are and decide when you plan to achieve them, but if you reach that deadline and you’re not finished, don’t be too hard on yourself.  If you start thinking of  yourself as a loser because you’ve missed a self-imposed deadline, it’s only going to destroy your self-confidence. You are not a loser, you’re a normal human being dealing with life. You can always set a new deadline and start writing again.

You may not have thought about it this way, but if you’re a writer, reading is like learning from the masters. Even though you aren’t doing it intentionally, you’re absorbing writing techniques as you turn the pages. Even if it’s extremely difficult to find time to write, if you’re reading, you’re still learning and making progress. You can’t read while you’re driving to work, but you can listen to books on CDs.

Learning to write is a lifelong process, so you don’t have to become discouraged by unexpected delays. If life prevents you from writing for a while, you won’t forget how to write; you are still a talented, intelligent individual prepared to share your unique voice with the world.

J. Paul Cooper



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