Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Where am I? Where am I going?

A lot of us know we want to write.

What we often don't know is what we want to write, how we want to write it, where we'll find the time, why we want to write, whether we need any training, what else we need (lots of chocolate and a screaming deadline), how on earth we get someone to read what we've written...and on it goes.

Literature training has produced GETTING TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE: A DIY guide to professional development planning (© literaturetraining, November 2007) to take writers at all stages of their career through a deceptively simple step-by-step analysis of their situation, which turns out to be highly revealing, and results in an action plan. Sounding a bit too much like work and management speak? Have a look before you judge it.

Sometimes we all just want to veer away from that blank paper or humming screen, run back to the kitchen, put the kettle on, eat another Hob-Nob and tell ourselves how silly we are in our ambitions. Others may have more confidence, but not have any guide to help them turn ambition into action, and action into results.

I think of the DIY guide from literaturetraining as a sat-nav because the whole process looks at where you are now (ambitions, skills, resources, experience, successes, problems and so on), where you want to be (Booker prize winner anyone?) and helps you work out how you can get there.

I sat down one afternoon to go through it and found it very much grounded in reality - there's even a section called 'Reality Check' - and it only took me a couple of hours. It covers so much that I can't imagine a writer it couldn't help. You review what time of day is best for you. You look at the attitudes of those around you. You look at what is helping or hindering you. You think about your reasons for writing. You look at how you spend your time. You think about what you need to do, what support you need, where you could find that support, and break down achieving your ambitions into small steps. You look at your priorities. This blog is the first result of my action plan, for example.

Literaturetraining (you can find a link at the bottom of this page) is a free resource and advice centre for writers so even if you don't like the sound of this guide, you should go and visit to see what else they have to help you.

Go on, give it a whirl. Get the download from the link above. Go spend a couple of hours on yourself and your development as a writer. Take my advice and don't skip any parts as you'll only regret it and have to go back to them. Take yourself seriously. You can still have your cup of tea and a HobNob.

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