10 Habits to Help You Become a High-Performance Writer

become a high performance writerEighty-one percent of Americans say they want to write a book. Why do only two percent accomplish that goal? First, the majority of aspiring authors don’t want to achieve this status badly enough to take action. Thus, they don’t manifest their dreams. Second, they don’t do what it takes to write their books. Their lack of motivation, organization or energy leaves them feeling they can’t do it for some reason. If, to date, you have not written your nonfiction book, you must fall into one of these two categories.

For the sake of this blog post, I’m going to assume you have a strong enough desire to write your nonfiction book that you are willing to take some action. Maybe at this moment, you feel like I did at one point in my life. You are frustrated with your past level of performance and achievement, and you are ready to make a change. At that point, I actually said, “I refuse to fail.” Maybe have said, “I will become an author.” Good for you!

Take Action

Now is the time to take action! Use that commitment to do something that moves you closer to achieving your goal. For example, set a deadline for when you will complete the first draft of your manuscript. Then schedule time into your calendar for writing so you meet that deadline. And don’t create a deadline that is a year or two years from now. Push yourself to get your book done fast!

For example, you can take advantage of National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo), aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge (WNFIN), and start and finish your nonfiction book…in just four weeks! This also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the group energy. People from all over the world take part in the event, and you can join them in the NaNonFiWriMo/WNFIN forum or on the Facebook page. That’s a huge step toward becoming a published author.

To write a book in a month, however, you need to get in gear for the challenge. If you are not yet an author, you are struggling to become one or you are having a hard time finishing any book project, your current habits likely are not helping you achieve your goal. That means you need to adopt some new ones—especially if you want to meet a 30-day deadline for changing your status as a writer.

High-Performance Habits for Writers

To write a book in a month, you need to employ the habits used by high performers. Here are 10 you can use during November—or now (or any time)—to become a high-performing writer and meet the WNFIN challenge.

  1. Prepare your mind and body. Your mind responds to how you take care of your body. Take care of yourself! Eat a good diet. Drink a lot of water. Exercise. Sleep enough. Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine. Take supplements. You will write with more clarity if you feed your mind what it needs.
  2. Take frequent breaks. Studies show that those who take frequent breaks out perform those who work for hours on end without stopping. Get up from your computer and get a drink of water, stretch, or go for a walk around the block twice every hour—or, at the minimum, once every 50 minutes.
  3. Set your daily priorities. Know what you need to get done. Stick to those priorities—that means your daily word count. Don’t do anything else until you meet that goal. No surfing the Net. No calling your mom or checking email or Facebook.
  4. Leave your email until later. Do not check your email first thing in the morning or right before you begin to write. This distracts you from your priority—writing. It also allows other people to dictate how you spend your time. Focus on want you to do and accomplish, rather than on what others want to do and accomplish.
  5. Have a routine. Most successful people and high performers have a routine. Create one for your self. What will you do every single day and in what order? Stick to it.
  6. Master your thoughts. Negative thinking and limiting beliefs are a sure-fire way to get off track when you write. They make you feel inadequate and unable to accomplish your goal. If you need to take up a meditation practice to become more conscious of your thoughts, do so. But pay attention to them, and when you find your mind filled with messages that make you feel badly about yourself and your writing, change those thoughts to positive, affirming ones instead.
  7. Choose who you want to be every day. You get to choose how you show up each day. If your boyfriend dumped you or you owe the IRS $4,000, you can still choose to bring joy, focus and concentration to your writing periods. You have the ability to determine how you feel and who you want to be. Do you want to be depressed or worried? Or would you like to be joyous and confident. Choose…then choose again and again and again.
  8. Protect your confidence. Don’t put yourself in situations that might cause you to question your ability to write a book in a month. Don’t tell your mother you are participating in NaNonFiWriMo if she is critical and will say, “There’s no way you can write a book in a month. You are crazy to try.” Don’t show your manuscript after week one of the challenge to your friend, who aspires to be a nonfiction book editor (but isn’t one), and who will return it “bleeding” red ink just to prove she knows what she’s doing. This will wreck your confidence and make possibly cause you to give up before you are even halfway through the WNFIN Challenge. And if you need to just write, so your inner critic doesn’t start telling you how badly you write, don’t bother rereading, editing or revising before you meet your goal.
  9. Have clarity about your goal. Know why you are writing your nonfiction book in a month. Understand your motivation and ambition. Once you do, you’ll find it easier to sit down at your desk each day.
  10. Bring energy to your day and writing periods. Wake up and create a heightened state of energy so you approach the day or the times when you write with joy and enthusiasm. You can do this with mind exercises, body movements, music, or self-talk. Whatever you do, don’t sit down to write feeling tired, bored or in any way low energy.

If you put even a few of these new habits to work for you, you will find yourself more productive each day. That means your manuscript will start taking shape faster than you thought possible. You could even have that first draft of your nonfiction book completed by the end of November.

WNIN-logonarrowAre you ready to take the Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) Challenge?

Join hundreds of other nonfiction writers for National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo). Start AND finish a work of nonfiction in 30 days. Learn more here or register and get access to the forum here.

Photo courtesy of olivier26 / 123RF Stock Photo

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