Guest post by Bob The Teacher Jenkins (@BobTheTeacher)
This month is National Nonfiction Writing Month and, if you’re like me, you’ve set ambitious goals for yourself to publish amazing, high-impact content over the next few weeks. Will you reach the finish line in time – maybe even before Thanksgiving?
As a marketing educator and business coach, I’ve discovered that three key factors provide me, my clients, and my colleagues with the focus we need to reach that finish line.
Writers are notorious for waves of productivity based on inspiration. I imagine for you, that in those times you have no problem cranking out blog posts, articles, even entire books.
But what about those un-inspired times that productivity is still important to reach a deadline or publishing goal?
Procrastination and distractions are usually seen as obstacles to finishing the writing projects you start. But they are really symptoms of a larger problem: operating out of alignment with your core values.
When you understand what your core values are, you can choose projects that are fueled by (and give fuel to) those values. This results in more moments of inspiration.
Life coaches can provide you with a faster assessment of your true core values. Until you connect with one, ask yourself these questions to get a head start:
- What aspects of “being” make me who I am (even if they seem to be missing right now)?
- What’s really important to me?
- What’s important to me about that? (Repeat this question until you get to a terminal thought)
For example: through working with a life coach myself, I discovered my own core values include Empowerment, Fairness, and Sharing Knowledge. When I make decisions based on these core values, I succeed. When I don’t, my results suffer.
It’s likely your audience shares many of your core values. Completing your writing projects and publishing them to the world will mean a lot to you and to them. Which brings us to step two…
Step two of improving your success rate at getting to the finish line is social accountability.
It’s one thing to set a deadline for yourself privately. You improve your chances for meeting that deadline by announcing it to a specific group of people.
The important element of the group of people you lean on for accountability is this: you must value their opinion and avoid their disappointment if you fail to meet your deadline.
Also, use your public deadline as an opportunity to build anticipation among your audience. Share pieces of your writing projects as blog posts or articles. Get feedback to improve the pieces before they are officially published. Simultaneously, your readers will be excited about setting their eyes on the finished product.
To put these pieces together with everything else you’ve got going on, I recommend you use computer software to mind map your writing projects and the greater business marketing plans that your writing is a component of.
Mind mapping has proven to be an invaluable tool for me and those to whom I’ve taught the concept to because it provides a visual “dashboard of discipline.”
Include the values piece I mentioned above so you can have a constant reminder of your top 5 values. If your writing projects are in alignment with those values, you’ll have a much easier time staying on track with your deadlines. If your writing is out of alignment, or (worse still) in contradiction to your values, then your project will come to a standstill.
Mind mapping serves an even bigger purpose as a planning tool for the content of your non-fiction work. Whether it’s a blog post, an article series, or a full book to be published on Kindle or in print, organizing your ideas into a mind map accelerates your path to the finish line.
Do you get intimidated by the blinking cursor on a blank document on your computer? Use a mind map to freely extract your ideas from your mind and into a visual mind map. Perfectionism hinders a lot of writers who attempt to write each sentence in the precise order it will be in for their final draft.
But with a mind map, you can perform a “brain dump” without concern for the initial organization. The mind mapping software allows you to re-organize those ideas without penalty. Then use that mind map as an outline for your prose.
I recommend, in addition to mind mapping the content of your writing, mind mapping your to-do lists and priorities (personal and business). This helps you stay on track by focusing your attention at one thing at a time.
My favorite mind mapping software is Freemind. It’s free and compatible with PC or Mac. Download Freemind software free here.
Reaching the finish line begins by getting started. Combine your core values with social accountability and the productivity strategy of mind mapping, and you’ll be unstoppable!
Not only is that awesome for you, it’s great for the rest of us who are going to love reading what you publish!
|Freemind – Get Started With Mindmapping Free Video|
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About The Author
Bob The Teacher Jenkins is a mindmapping fanatic. He teaches writers, coaches, and entrepreneurs how to use mindmaps to become more productive and help more people profitably. Get started with this free mindmap training today. Connect with Bob on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Photo courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee | Freedigitalphotos.net