Taking Your Life in A New Direction? You’ll Need a Map

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Back when I was a fresh-faced graduate with a shiny new diploma in Computer Programming, I created a Vision Board. It was covered with pictures of successful women, houses, nice clothes and fine foods. I’m happy to report every single one of those pictures came to fruition in my life. Some of the results were not quite what I expected, but they did help me build a very successful career.

Today, I’m in a place where I’m preparing to make major life changes as I head toward retirement. Hmmm. I guess what I really mean is I’m bursting out of my employer’s clutches and dancing toward new adventures. Can you see me giggling and clapping my hands?I have a few ideas to build up my current personal business and may even start a completely new one. Time to make a new Vision Board.

What’s the Point of a Vision Board?

  • Helps you figure out what you really want in life
  • Puts your ideas and dreams in a format you can see
  • Meditate on the images every day. You’ll start to see these goals appear in your life.

Vision Boards are Great, but…

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  • As with any map, you first have to know your destination before you start
  • Do research on steps to achieve your goals
  • Be smart! While Leaps of Faith are super inspiring, the landings can be brutal. Aim for the deep pools of success. Avoid the jagged rocks of failure

Creative Visualization may sound like some hippie dippie notion, but I’m living proof it works! Knowing what you want in life is the first step in achieving your goals.

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Finding your Motivation

I’ve never understood why tracking how many words you write a day is so significant. Rather than helping me, monitoring word count or hours worked per day is a hindrance to my motivation. I prefer to start each day with a plan that produces predetermined goals. Each day should move you closer to the end result, the completion of your book.

Thought One: Make a Plan. You’ve heard the terms “Plotter” (someone who outlines every detail of their story before they begin writing) and “Pantser” (someone who lets the story flow as it may). I’m somewhere in the middle. Each day I make a goal. “I will finish editing Chapter 1” or “I will write the first scene of Chapter 16.” It may take me hours to complete my goal, but I don’t stop until I’ve finished. Be careful about your goal. Is it too much to bite off for one session of writing? Set yourself up for success!

Thought Two: Save some for the next day. You’ve accomplished your daily goal and it is oh so tempting to keep going.  That’s fine for your first draft. Approaching your editing sessions on advanced drafts takes a thoughtful plan. The idea is to keep yourself motivated, so you can reach your end goal.

Thought Three: If you’re not in the mood to write, do something else constructive.  Research is a big part of the writing process.  Writing drafts of the back cover blurb or synopsis is another option. Sometimes when the creative juices aren’t flowing, I take the opportunity to flow out my plot and subplots.

Final Thought: Sticking to your daily goals is an important part of developing the writing craft. They are an agreement you make with the creative you. Always keep the promises you make to yourself.