January 26, 2021
Note From Rochelle
Last winter, just as the pandemic reached the United States, I started working on my new book, Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing (cover reveal coming soon!).
Instead of spending my days worrying, I jumped into researching and writing. It helped me get through those early days of the pandemic.
Do you need a project to get you through this winter?
Consider attending my Collect and Transform workshop. You’ll discover the steps you need to take to turn your blog posts, essays, and other content into a book. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the workshop on my website.
I’ll also be introducing my brand new Writing Accountability Group, designed to give you the support and accountability you need to write your book this winter.
Speaking of accountability, today’s tip is adapted from my book, Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity. Try out the quest—it will help you find the support you need to write your book.
Find Your People and Write More
by Rochelle Melander
The only good teachers for you are those friends who love you, who think you are interesting, or very important, or wonderfully funny; whose attitude is: “Tell me more.” —Brenda Ueland
As a spokesperson for Weight Watchers, Oprah Winfrey talks about one of the cornerstone secrets for successful weight loss: connecting. She said, “The journey is even better when you take it together.”
Neuroscientist Moran Cerf said that we can reduce stress, increase happiness and make better choices by connecting with the right people. Cerf based this theory on three research-supported concepts. First, we make hundreds of decisions a day, from when to get up to what to eat to how we’ll spend our time, and the act of choosing drains our energy. Second, when we make choices, we’re not always rational. Our biases, emotions, and social connections cloud our judgment. In other words, when it comes to choosing whether or not to have dessert, we might be swayed by our belief that hard work needs to be rewarded, feelings of accomplishment, and friend’s encouragement to indulge. Finally, we often make decisions based on what the people around us do.
We make better choices when we surround ourselves with people who make good choices. Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said it this way: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Choosing healthy companions can affect our writing life as well as what we eat or how much we exercise. Psychology professor Robert Boice examined the habits of productive and unproductive faculty writers. He found that writers who belonged to peer writing groups received the following benefits:
+Maintained momentum to complete a project
+Produced more work
+Developed more creative ideas
+Improved the quality of their writing
+Identified sources for publication
Today’s quest will provide you with multiple options for connecting with others. Try out a few of them and measure which has the most impact on your writing life.
Connect with writers using one or more of the following models. Reflect on what type of connecting works best for you.
- Coach. A coach will help you vision, set goals, create a plan, overcome blocks, and stay accountable. You might hire a coach for help with a single challenge or to be an accountability partner for the whole process.
- Accountability partner. An accountability partner can help you maintain momentum in achieving your goals. In this sort of relationship, it’s helpful if both people are working toward achieving a goal and need accountability.
- Coaching Group. For years, I’ve met with small networking groups for accountability. When I struggled with my business or writing, these connections have helped me to leap forward.
- Critique Group. Professional writers study great writing—and know what works and what doesn’t work. When we invite other writers to read and critique our writing, we expand our understanding of good writing. And, we learn about our blind spots. From complex comments on structure and voice to technical lessons on commas and run-on sentences, a good critique can strengthen our writing. Plus, having a critique group often provides us with the deadline we need to finish a draft of our work.
- Writing Class. When we cannot make progress even with the help of a coach or coaching group, we might consider taking a class. With the help of an instructor and colleagues, we’ll receive assignments, due dates, feedback and accountability. In addition, paying a fee can sometimes help us work harder.
Game Play Tips
+You may need to try a few coaches, accountability partners or groups before you find one that suits you.
+Give each connecting tool time to work. One coaching session or one critique group session can be helpful, but several can be transformational. It takes time to develop trust, and transformational relationships are built on a foundation of trust.
How do you find a accountability group?
+Professional associations are a great place to start. Many have boards where you can find a critique group. I have found many of my groups through the Society of Children’s Writers and Book Illustrators and the American Society of Journalists and Authors.
+Writing classes. Many critique group members find each other in a writing class. Find a writing class that involves some sort of connections between members—and pay attention to the people who provide the best insight into your work or writing in general.
+Online writing groups. Facebook has many writing groups that serve as a place to share tips, ask for feedback and gain information. Connect with people in those groups—and you just might find people who can be part of a smaller accountability group.
For the Win
In her book Voice Lessons: On Becoming a Woman Writer, Nancy Mairs offers this encouragement for writers about connecting with each other:
“This is what we can all do to nourish and strengthen one another: listen to one another very hard, ask hard questions, too, send one another away to work again, and laugh in all the right places.” (p. 25)
Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is a certified professional coach, experienced publishing strategist, and the author of eleven books, including Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity. She helps people write and publish books that transform lives. She’s the founder of Dream Keepers, a writing workshop that supports children and teens in finding their voice and sharing their stories. Sign up for her Write Now! Tips Ezine at https://www.writenowcoach.com. Or contact her for a consultation (firstname.lastname@example.org)