Why You Need to “How” to Successfully Write

Header: how vs. Why. Why you need to quote how unquote to successfully write. The why is just the beginning. Natural Writer Coaching

Something I really try to drive home is that you need to know why it is you’re writing. Not just why you’re writing your story, but why you’re writing in general. In fact, I can list plenty of posts where I reference how to dive into that, and why you need to find your why.

When you know why you want to write something, it’s easier to generate and ground yourself in taking the steps to get it done. When you why is strong enough, it’s going to carry you through the hard times.

This is just the first step.

The next step is to look at the how. When you know why you want to do something, then you need to work on how you’re going to execute it and cultivate the results you want. The results you want will also be down to how you define success, both as a writer, and for your particular project. Think of that success as your target as you aim your bow upward.

How vs. Why

In a post last week, I talked about how Toni Morrison would look beyond why a character was motivated to do something, but how they got into that position/mentality. How did that character develop that way?

How

The how is a combination of both the macro and the micro in a character or person’s life. It’s the environment in which something or someone developed. Your environment isn’t just present, but is compiled of your past as well. We carry the lessons from our experiences with us, as they create our views of the world and our beliefs. Our world views and beliefs are what inform our decisions and determine how we act upon something.

Consider what your environment consists of:

  • Your personal living space
  • Your personal space within your living space (bedroom, office, etc.)
  • Your neighborhood
  • Your family
  • Your town/city
  • Your State/county/providence
  • Your country
  • The places you choose to be in
  • Your education system
  • Your level of education
  • Your childhood home

This is just a start to your list of the various things that contribute to your environment. And all of these things are what give you a different flavor and view of life. All of these places and situations provide lessons from which you build your personality and understanding from. All of it contributes specifically to you.

When you’re looking to create a successful writing life, you need to understand your environment as well as yourself. When you know these things, then you can learn to work with them in order to develop good habits and practices to get you closer to your goal.

This is the importance of knowing your how. The how of you will help you answer the how to get to your writing goal.

Here’s a small example

I write ghostwrite books regularly. My goal is to get the book done and out of my hands in seven to ten days. My why is that it’s my job to do so. I’m hired to do it. That’s why I write these books on this deadline. Part of my how is to sit down and write the book. Because of my experiences in university, I’m able to sit down and write large quantities at a time.

However, another part of my how is my location. I need to be comfortable where I sit. When I’m not comfortable, I’ll find reasons to get distracted. And getting comfortable can be difficult because, again, a part of my environmental factors in life was an unsafe work environment which led to a back injury that can make sitting for long periods of time difficult.

I can’t sit on the couch because I get sleepy when I write there, despite it being nice for my back. I can’t sit too long at the desk because my back starts to ache.

So, part of my how when it comes to reaching my finished product is that I set timers. I have a treadmill by my desk, and I set my timer for 25 minutes. I write for 35 minutes, and when the timer goes off, I give myself five minutes to walk on the treadmill. When the five minutes are up, I go back to writing.

The break also helps to reset my brain when I do this, so I feel as though I’m coming back to my writing fresh.

So when someone asks me how I write so much in such little time, I tell them my regiment and I tell them about my time in university. Both of which contribute to my how.

How & You

So, when you’re trying to generate how to get through to the end of your project, you first need to know how you work best. You need to know what factors are tugging at you to reach for your phone, or to get up and wander to the fridge, or to decide your dog needs a walk for the tenth time that day.

Knowing yourself is the first step. Knowing your motivation is the first part of the first step, and knowing the factors that make you who you are, what makes you impatient, what makes you lose focus—all of those things are going to influence how you design your writing regiment.

Spend some time getting to know yourself. Really ask yourself how you work best, examine the problems you face, and from there, once you’ve identified them, then you can learn how to problem-solve around those issues.

Your Homework

Create a list of what you find distracts you from your writing. It could be fears, discomforts, noises, people, gadgets, etc.

Once you have your list, write down what it is that compels you to respond to those distractions. Some might be obvious, but others may not be as obvious.

Now, begin to troubleshoot around them. What can you do to ensure they don’t distract you? Are there practices you can put into action so that you in general don’t pick up your phone every five minutes? What about getting a cushion for your chair? What about writing before everyone wakes up or after they go to bed?

See what you can do to help you eliminate your distractions so you can then create an environment in which you write best in. This will help you develop your writing habits more easily, and get to your end goal.

If you want to discuss this further, book a call with me! you get a free 30-minute call with me to see if we can work together to get your project done.

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NatWriCoChallenge Week 1

Hey friends. Just a reminder that through April and May of 2020, I am offering coaching sessions at a Pay What Feels Right for You rate. That means that you get a coaching session and you choose the price. Read all about this offer here.

Happy May Day!

Today is the first day of the Natural Writer Coaching Challenge, or #NatWriCoChallenge. As the first day of the challenge, today also marks the first week of the challenge.

Each May Friday I’ll post the week’s writing prompts here. The goal of this challenge is to encourage a small bit of creative writing each day to help develop the habit. Likewise, writing 250 words a day on something unrelated to your current work in progress can be what you need to kick-start you into your creative mindset for the day, and lead you on to your WIP.

Developing a writing habit is crucial. It’s to gain the discipline over your mind to write at will. When you create a habit, your mind wants to engage in the daily dose of creativity.

Give this challenge a go. See if it works for you. Have fun with it!

If you want the chance to win 2 FREE hour-long coaching sessions with me (£150 value), then participate on Instagram using the hashtag #NatWriCoChallenge and my Instagram handle, @NaturalWriterCoaching. You can read more details about how to participate in the challenge here.

Additional Challenges

Each week, I’ll provide an additional challenge to try with your flash fiction pieces. This is for those of you who are flying through the prompts and might be a little bored. You don’t need to embrace these additional challenges to participate in the NatWriCoChallenge. This is just adding a little extra weight to the bar for those who want it.

This week I won’t be providing a challenge. For those of you who want the challenge, just think of this week as a warm up.

This Week’s Writing Prompts

Again, each Friday i’ll post the one-word writing prompts for the following seven days. You can use this to plan ahead or just have a small bite-size of what’s to come.

Here are this week’s writing prompts:

Friday, May 1: Light
Saturday, May 2: Green
Sunday, May 3: Mosquito
Monday, May 4: Bottle
Tuesday, May 5: Gingerly
Wednesday, May 6: Headache
Thursday, May 7: Flight

I look forward to seeing your creations! Tell me all about your experience in the comments below.

Happy writing!

Book a Free 30-Minute Session with Me

Are you thinking about working with me, but just aren’t entirely sure? Fill out the form, schedule a call, let’s talk. This is a no-pressure, non-sales-pitch call, where we talk about you and your writing, and whether or not you want to work with me. Let’s chat!

Why Do You Want to Write?

One of the first things I ask clients when we’re getting to know each other is why it is that they want to write.

Why Do you Write?

We all have our reasons, and for most of us, it just boils down to one thing: there’s a story burning inside that needs to be introduced into the world.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons to write. It’s a form of self-expression, it’s fun playing with the alchemy of words, it’s a way of earning money, it just seems like something interesting to try out, etc. There’s no wrong reason to write.

If there’s no wrong reason to write, then why do I ask?

No matter what the reason is to write, it has to boil down to one thing. Without that one thing, then the writer is going to be in for a difficult ride. This thing is what holds us together when we find a plot hole that is going to force us to change everything we had written already. It’s the thing that’s going to get us through writer’s block. It’s the aspect that makes re-reading your story for the twentieth time worth it to make sure all the typos are out and every sentence is what we need it to be. It’s going to be the thing that helps us cope with rejection letters and potential negative criticism.

It is the magical ingredient that no matter how many books on the subject you read, you cannot formulate how to conjure it. It needs to appear organically, and when it does, you need to nurture it.

Before I tell you what this ingredient is, I’m going to show you have to figure out if you have it or not.

Finding the Ingredient

It’s actually a pretty simple process. But don’t let simplicity undermine its value. Delving into yourself and really getting to the core of any matter is going to be how you discover yourself and your direction. It’s how you can understand how you want to market yourself as an author, how you write your stories, how you present yourself and your ideas, and even the way you choose to release your story into the world.

It’s the Why Game.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Write a list of every reason you can think of for why you want to write, or why you are a writer.
  2. Number them in importance
  3. Take the three most compelling reasons for why you’re a write, and as yourself why.
    For example, if your reason is because your story has to be told, ask yourself why.
  4. Ask why again
  5. And again.
  6. Repeat until you cannot come up with any other answers.
  7. When you get to this point, then you have the core of your answer.

Now, I want you to try this before you read on. Get out a piece of paper and give exercise a go. Hopefully, the answers all boil down to the same thing.

Okay, are you sure you’ve done this exercise?

Alright. I’ll believe you. Read on.

The Ingredient

There are of course variant terms to go along with this, so you can replace the word if need be. But the ingredient that is absolutely essential if you want to be able make it to your writing goals is joy.

If you don’t find enjoyment in what you do, it’s likely that you’re going to quit. I do say likely. There are people who write who don’t like it, but they have the goal of earning money. Writing for the love of money is a hard task, but there are people out there who do it (I encourage you to check out the Facebook group, 20booksto50k if you want to look further into it), and have a harder time of it.

 “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

~Robert Frost

If there is no enjoyment in what you’re doing, it’s going to come through in your writing.

Writing, like anything else, can have difficult moments. Tom Robbins says that “writing is the hardest physical work there is.” If you’ve ever been stuck against a block or in a hole (writing-related metaphor, of course), then you understand.

But what gets us out of those situations, when the going gets tough, is the joy we have involving the problem, of getting to the finish line, of revising to make the story better. Joy is what pulls us through.

So, when I ask my clients why they are writing, it’s to gage where to start with them. Do they love what they do? How much? If not, why is that?

Sometimes the goal is helping to find the joy, and sometimes it’s to remember the joy so they have something to hang onto during this crazy, crazy ride.


Reminder

Through April and May 2020, I am offer Pay What Feels Right sessions. This means that you can have a session and pay what feels right to you. Read more about it here. Or, you can fill out the form below to arrange an initial Free 30 minutes session to see if we work well together.

Book a Free 30-Minute Session with Me

Are you thinking about working with me, but just aren’t entirely sure? Fill out the form, schedule a call, let’s talk. This is a no-pressure, non-sales-pitch call, where we talk about you and your writing, and whether or not you want to work with me. Let’s chat!