Book writing advice – ‘Follow the 3 T’s’
Soon after I moved to Oxford in 2010, I set myself some ambitions. I did not know anyone yet, so had time on my hands… the house I bought needed things done to it… and I felt life would slip away if I did not press on and achieve some of my other lifetime goals.
Here’s what I wanted to do:
- Create a lovely garden – somewhere I could work, relax and entertain
- Read more novels – to keep up with trends and not miss out on a key pleasure
- Learn to swim crawl – up and down without stopping.
Within 4 years I had achieved all of them.
And here’s how… one ‘T’ for each ambition… key success factors for getting your book written (and other goals).
T = Time
I bought a house with a muddle of a garden.
Fine on one side, but concrete on the other. So I decided I had a real opportunity to create something lovely, somewhere really attractive that I could enjoy working in – after all, there have to be benefits of working at home!
‘I used to see you out there working every week-end,’ says my neighbour. Because that is what I did. Most week-ends, if the weather was OK, I did two or three hours of digging, replanting and landscaping.
Critical for me were doing it first thing in the day – because that suits me best. And using incentives to nudge me along – I had a portable radio or music to listen to …. plus the occasional break for coffee and croissant.
No, I am not a gardening expert, and no, my garden is not open to the public. But boy am I proud!
All it took was … time… plus dedication and desire. Little by little, what a lot we can all achieve!
T = Targets
I am not an avid reader, but I do enjoy it when I do. However, I didn’t used to read much fiction, so felt I might be missing out. So, in Oxford one year I set myself the target of reading all the World Book Night’s list of recommended books (mostly novels).
12 months later I had read 90% of them – and enjoyed most, too.
What did it take? I identified a time in my day that I could dedicate to reading – once agin, first thing in the morning worked best for me, when I can go back to bed with a cup of tea and a book. A chapter each morning became several; one book became two; and Hey Presto, job done! How easy was that!
I also joined a book group, which means I now read TWO novels most months – one for the group and one for my targeted list. 2 more than I did before.
In the beginning it really helped me to allocate a specific time to read, to ensure I did it. But after a while (there is a magic number of 8 times, apparently) something ‘new’ becomes a habit. You do it automatically and don’t have to remind yourself, nor put it in your diary, which can help some people. All you need is discipline to get started, and a target.
What’s your next target?
T = Trainer
I have always loved swimming, in particular outdoors. And although I did it competitively, I only really did breaststroke. Two or three lengths of crawl was all I could manage. After that I was exhausted.
So I was deeply jealous of those swimming crawl in the lanes next to me – length after length, without pausing. ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’, I told myself – and decided to learn front crawl.
Four lessons from an instructor were worth every penny. She was brilliant. She corrected my technique, gave me exercises to work on, and set me targets. And, with time and practice, I achieved them. And more.
If you don’t want to pay for an expert to give you hints and tips, and steer you along, what about using a writing buddy – you can commit each other to sharing X thousand words every week. Little by little, chapters will get written, and you will get your book written.
MY next goals?
Sailing, jazz and bird watching – So, when you see me, ask me how I am doing.. and what tips can I share.