Many writers wait for things to come to them. They don’t actively seek assignments or send out queries. They just do nothing at all over and over and expect different results. But nothing comes to a writer who doesn’t try to send out queries.
To be proactive means doing more than the minimum. It also means seizing opportunities whenever they come up as often as possible. For instance, we may want to read wider as well or do other things to give ourselves extra credibility and gain many more new ideas to write about.
1. Do Things in Advance
Proactive writers must plan their writing ahead of time. To be proactive is to do the most important things first and to leave the rest for tomorrow or a later date and to know exactly where to put our energies. This isn’t always easy to do at first. But with practice and discipline, we’ll be well on our way.
2. Create Clear and Flexible Goals
We must become aware of what we need to be a successful writer. What you need today may differ from what you need next month or next year. But this is all part of progress. So, we should have long-term and short-term writing goals and follow-up on our progress as often as possible.
3. Use Our Talents and Expertise Wisely
We should take steps to capitalize on our talent and expertise at all times. For instance, if we have a degree in the Arts or Humanities, use this knowledge in our expertise in writing. Further, if we enjoy nonfiction writing, we should spent most of our time writing in this genre. However, if we want to break into fiction writing as well, we should try this type of writing in our spare time so that we don’t waste valuable time writing in a genre that we aren’t proficient at yet.
4. Be Creative and Problem-Solve
Creativity and problem-solving are two of the least-talked about qualities that a writer can have. Being proactive also means imagining new angles for our writing. We may want to change something that isn’t working. Or, we may want to keep doing something that is really working. Whatever it is, we should have a larger picture of what we want as a writer. This is one sure way of being successful.
5. Don’t be a Reactive Writer
During the course of a day, tasks tend to pile up. Sometimes, even daily responsibilities are put off. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by deadlines and work volume. But this need not be the case, especially if you master the 7 habits outlined in this book.
However, when our whole week is taken up with simply performing duties and tasks handed down to us that have nothing to do with our three main writing goals, we are being reactive. To be a successful writer, we must find time to be proactive. This is why it is important to schedule at least 30 minutes each week to step back and do some creative, and forward-thinking about your writing career. We may want to do this on Sunday for the upcoming week.
Part of being proactive is to anticipate our needs as a writer before they occur. Therefore, being proactive can help us to focus on the most important writing goals and committing to them until they are complete. Also, nothing comes to a writer who doesn’t work step-by-step to complete his/her goals and to being his/her best. Success comes by being committed to being the best writer we could become. We can only be a committed writer if we are proactive and not reactive at achieving but not reactive.
Irene S. Roth