Guest Blogger: Chad R. Allen (@ChadRAllen)
“Sometimes it feels like nobody’s listening,” my writer friend groaned.
Can you relate? Have you ever poured your heart and soul into an article or proposal only to hear the cruel sound of silence? It’s frustrating.
So we just keep slogging away, right?
Well, yes, but there is a way of thinking about your writing that just might make all the difference in the world.
To illustrate, let me tell you about my inventor friends Al and Andy.
Al and Andy invented a device they call the “Nothin’ But Net Free Throw Trainer.” The purpose of this invention is to help basketball players become better free throw shooters, and it works. Nationally known coaches now use the device.
The product is simple. It’s a four-inch piece of yellow plastic that stands vertically on the front of a basketball hoop.
It’s the principle behind the device that’s so remarkable.
The idea is to focus on this little piece of plastic rather than making the shot. The Free Throw Trainer teaches the shooter to focus on the process of making the shot instead of the outcome.
Focusing on the process helps the shooter relax. Suddenly it’s not about adding points to the scoreboard. It’s about hitting that little piece of plastic.
Writers: it’s not about watching copies fly off the shelves or filling seats at a reading. It’s about filling your own seat.
The best writers focus on the process of writing rather than on the audience they hope to have.
Relax and keep hitting that yellow piece of plastic. If you keep doing that, the outcome will take care of itself.
What does the process actually look like?
What’s the writing equivalent to the Free Throw Trainer? You know the fundamentals already: writing and reading. To become great writers, we have to spend significant time doing both. But to be honest, from there it varies. The particulars of your process are less important than thinking about and deciding on a process that makes sense to you. Stick to it for a period of time and see how it goes, then reevaluate and make tweaks.
Do your best to fall in love with your process.
I don’t mean you’re always going to enjoy what you’re doing. It’s hard work. But if you trust that your writing is improving as you engage the process, you can push through. If you can keep doing that over time, you will build an audience.
Process over outcome. It’s not easy, but you can do it. And we need you to do it.
Chad R. Allen serves as editorial director for Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. You can connect with him via his blog, where he is giving away a free e-copy of his first book, DO YOUR ART: A Manifesto on Rejecting Apathy to Bring Your Best to the World.
Here’s a simple secret to improve your success as a writer. @ChadRAllen posts for @RachelleGardner. Click to Tweet.
The best writers focus on the process, not the audience. @ChadRAllen posts for @RachelleGardner. Click to Tweet.
How the “Nothin’ But Net Free Throw Trainer” can improve your writing. Click to Tweet.
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