When it comes to getting what you want–in life and in your writing–it all really comes down to two things. Two little things that can make or break you. Two things that will determine exactly how successful you’re going to be.
Those two things are: your priorities and your habits.
Your priorities and habits are your keys to success. If your habits are supportive of your goals and your priorities are aligned with your writing dreams, there’s no stopping you. You are set up for inevitable success.
But if your habits are sabotaging your goals and your priorities are totally out of whack, guess what? You’ll never get where you want to go with your writing. Not ever.
Never. (And I never say never, but I’m saying it.)
It’s impossible to reach the level of success as a writer that you dream of if you don’t align your habits and priorities with your dreams. It can’t happen.
And the reason it can’t happen is because you won’t be taking the actions you need to take or making the choices you need to make to get to your dream writing life, because your habits and priorities are not working.
This was something I had to personally look at recently, as I take my writing career to the next level. I did a journal exercise the other day that was insanely eye-opening.
It can be scary to flesh it all out on paper and see it written down. Because then you can’t not look at it.
Sometimes it even seems easier not to look at it. To just live your life, never taking a minute to look at what you want and where you’re at, to see if it’s matching up (hint: if you don’t already have what you want, it’s not).
I avoided it for a long time… until I realized I had to look at it. I had to write down what I want, and then make a list of my current habits and priorities, to see if it was a match.
And, well, what I found did’t come as a huge shock: my priorities and habits don’t totally align with where I want to go with my life, my writing and my business.
For example, in my “what I want” list, I wrote down that I want “to be healthy and fit.” But when I look at my habits and priorities, they don’t align with that goal. Right now I don’t exercise regularly and I’ve fallen into a bad habit again of eating a lot of junk food.
If I say what I want is to be healthy and fit, you can clearly see that will never happen with the habits I have in place currently. Instead, I need to have habits that support the goal, such as doing 30 minutes of movement every day, no exception, and eating a 90/10 balance–90 percent healthy, 10 percent whatever I want.
Habits like that would support my goal of being healthy and fit.
So, now it’s time to turn the spotlight on your writing priorities and habits. The only way you can make a change is to see where you’re at and where you want to be, to determine the gap and what your next steps are.
Grab your journal or notebook. Set a timer for 10 minutes and go to town writing down exactly what you want for your writing life. What does your dream writing life look like?
For example, mine has me publishing a minimum of two books a year, having my books turned into movies, being a multi-bestselling author, and having millions of readers all over the world.
Once the timer goes off, flip to another page (or even at the bottom of the same page if there’s still space), and make two lists. List one is what your current priorities are. List two is what your current habits are related to your writing.
Be honest when making these lists. No one will see it except you, and by looking at exactly what is, you’ll know where to go from there. Just don’t kid yourself.
Now compare the two lists against the write up about your dream writing life. Do the habits and priorities you currently have align with getting you to that dream life?
If yes, congrats. You’re part of a very small percentage of writers who are showing up consistently and doing the work. Make any needed tweaks and keep on going.
If no, you have some work to do.
What To Do Next
I want you to make a list of what you think your habits and priorities would be if you did have your dream writing life. So if that life was already your current reality, what would you be doing on a daily basis?
Would you be skipping your writing sessions? Would you be putting other less important things before doing your writing?
Nope. If you had your dream writing life, you’d be writing every day. You’d be spending more time writing than watching TV or doing other meaningless things that won’t get you where you want to go.
Now it’s up to you. You can either keep doing what you’re doing (and not get where you want to go) or you can take a look at “what is” so you can realign and get on track to reaching your dreams.
A mentor of mine recently said, “success is a daily practice.” And it blew my mind when she said it because she’s so right. Success isn’t one of those things you get and then you just have it. It’s something you have to work at every single day.
And the foundation for success is your habits and priorities. Get those aligned to the writing life you dream of and watch magic happen.