“Make a commitment. Make it public. Make it happen.”
Frank’s nine-word strategy packs a powerful punch. He’s a highly successful motivational speaker (http://www.franksomma.com/) who often works with people in sales, one of those jobs that totally depends on whether or not you can prime yourself to handle lots of “no’s” on the way to “yes.” His no-nonsense approach can be a winning game plan for the writing life if we really put it into action. Let’s take a look at how to make it work for us:
Make a commitment: More than an intention, bigger than a promise, a commitment has a binding feeling about it. Friendship is a commitment, so is parenthood. When we say “yes” to these, most of us see it as serious business. And when we make a commitment to ourselves about sticking to a writing plan or coming up with a regular submission strategy for our short stories, to my mind we’re saying that we will stick with something through thick and thin. We make break a promise or fail to follow through on an intention, but a commitment is rock solid. So we shouldn’t go there unless we really mean business. Sure, we may have a slip up once in a while — we’re only human — but if we’re committed, we get right back on our horse and keep riding. We may mess up, but we don’t give up.
Make it public: Making a commitment to yourself is one thing, but announcing it can really ratchet up your motivation by putting you in the Land of Accountability. Suddenly, it’s not just about a secret longing or “should” that you keep close to your vest. It’s about saying to someone else, “I’m letting you know about this because I need your help in staying on track and keeping my ‘feet to the fire’ here. This isn’t a pipe dream, it’s something I’m determined to follow through on.” Whether you turn to your writing group or a writing partner or a family member, going public with your intention is a powerful motivating tool: you’re calling in the troops and enlisting support.
Make it happen: Here, the rubber meets the road: Commitment and accountability unleash two powerful motivators. Choosing a target, a deadline — something specific to aim for — is the third energy booster in a get-it-done arsenal. As a freelancer for many years, I came to really appreciate the power of a deadline in sprinting across the finish line of a project. At this stage of my writing life, I’ve relied on this tool time and again. I’ve learned to set “stretch” targets for myself — deadlines that aren’t impossible, but require an extra hit of gas to achieve. This challenges me and gets my motor going — it keeps me from getting too comfortable or complacent.
Writing my KWD blog is a commitment I’ve made to myself and to you. Through lots of ups and downs, I’ve kept it going. It’s taken persistence and ingenuity and it’s helped to strengthen my “commitment muscle” and that’s helped my other projects.
“Make a commitment. Make it public. Make it happen.” Ready, set, write on!