Have you ever seen the Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes in New York City? We have had the pleasure of watching it several times over the last decade. One thing that amazes me is that every time we have seen the Rockettes perform, each number is spot on. Each performer is right where she should be. They dance or sing in time with the music. I've never seen a mistake ... and, believe me, at this point I look for one.
As a former dancer, I appreciate and stand in awe of the amount of practice the Rockettes dedicate themselves to in order to pull off such an outstanding performance multiple times a day for two months. And, while dancing might come naturally to these performers, just like any athlete, certain moves or numbers may present challenges. Dance, like any sport, requires intentional practice.
Just like a dancer, writers can also be intentional with their craft. But, what does that mean, and why is it important?
Devise a plan to help you succeed
It's easy to just plop into your chair for 15 minutes and write something. It's not always easy to discipline yourself to do it regularly. It's also not likely you will go from writing sporadically to writing regularly as quick as snapping your fingers. Figure out a plan that works for your schedule to encourage you to write regularly. For example, the first week you could write with a prompt for two days. The second week you could write with a prompt for three days. The following week you could complete a short story over four days, and so on, until you create that regular habit of sitting down to write on a consistent basis.
Hone your craft
Just like a dancer practices over and again until she is satisfied with her performance, writers can be intentional about honing their craft. Choose a skill you wish to improve. You'll find plenty of online resources to help. You can also read a book on the subject or take a class. Then put what you learned to work by writing. A beta reader or an editor can help you gauge your progress.
You can be intentional about eliminating distractions, too. How stellar of a performance would you expect from a dancer who stops in the middle of practice each time her cellphone rings? Trust me, it won't be pretty.
I'll be honest, this area is my largest struggle. Social media, household chores, and a litany of other things drag me away from writing all the time. Identify what distracts you and reduce or eliminate those distractions. Some days, I simply have to pick up my laptop and drive to a place without Wi-Fi so I can focus on writing.
When you sit down to list your 2020 writing goals, consider what you want your writing career to look like by the end of December. Approaching the new year with well thought out intentions will help you succeed.
Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of four children’s books including, A Christmas Kindness, released by 4RV Publishing. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com and her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com