This post marks the first in a new feature for this blog: short writing prompts to help you achieve your goals as a nonfiction writer. They will appear each Friday. I encourage you to complete them and to share your work in the comments section of the post, and to comment on the work others post. This will create a running dialogue between those who choose to participate. Before long, we will have created a supportive community of nonfiction writers working toward successful careers as writers and authors.
Last year this blog featured writing prompts on Fridays, but they were part of a different program related to the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge. You will find these quite different in nature.
Unlike most writing prompts, which ask you to improve your craft, these writing prompts will ask you to improve in a variety of ways. By completing them you will improve your:
- ability to earn an income as a professional writer or author
- ability to succeed as a professional writer
- ability to succeed as a nonfiction author
Prompts will run the gamut from how to:
- achieve your writing goals
- write articles and essays
- write book proposals
- write nonfiction books
- land an agent
- become an authorpreneur and writerpreneur
So, let’s get started!
December is a great time to work on planning for the New Year. It’s a chance to produce a business plan and to brand yourself as part of that plan, but you must first know who you want to become as a nonfiction writer or nonfiction author. So here is your prompt:
Nonfiction Writing Prompt #1: Create Your Best Possible Writing Self this Coming Year
Create a vision of yourself five years from now. See yourself as a successful nonfiction writer or author. Imagine yourself as successful as you can possibly imagine. Include every aspect of your life in this vision—writing, publishing, blogging, social media, speaking, teaching, etc. (all aspects of your work), as well as your income, relationships, friendships, family, health, free and play time, etc. Be specific. Mention the number of books you sold, how much money you earn, how much time you spend working or playing, etc.
Try writing this in the past tense as if you have already achieved the successful state. Then keep this vision handy. Read it often; it’s best to read it two or three times a day.
How to Become Your Best Possible Self
As I explain in my new book, The Author Training Manual, “This exercise is quite similar to the Best Positive Self (BPS) process often used in Positive Psychology. Studies have shown that those who work with a BPS, defined as an “ideographic representation of goals” (Markus & Nurius, 1986), by visualizing themselves on a regular basis—daily or weekly—having achieved their goal or potential have improved ability to:
- Self-regulate their behavior
- Gain awareness and clarity about priorities and values
- Achieve positive attitude
- Gain insight into motives and emotions
- Reduce goal conflict
“Numerous studies show that writing about your life goals by imagining your most favorable future helps you learn about yourself. This makes it easier to restructure behavior, priorities, goals, motivations, values, beliefs, and attitudes. Doing so helps you achieve better results.”
Don’t forget: Share your work in a comment!