Do you, by any chance, have a New Year Resolution that involves writing? This idea might help you to keep it.
The Rule of Three is one of the most powerful principles I have ever learned. With thanks to Jack Canfield who is a motivational speaker in the US. All you’ll need is a notepad and pen, did you get one for Christmas? If you didn’t, a reporter’s notepad from the newsagents will do. Or just flip up a new document on your word processor.
- Take a blank page and write your goal at the top of it – which can be anything. Make sure it’s specific though. For example, write a piece of Flash Fiction and send it to a competition. Or, get a feature published in a magazine. Or perhaps you’re thinking big and your goal is to write a 90,000 word psychological thriller. It doesn’t matter: Just commit your goal to paper.
- Underneath your goal write the next three steps you will take towards it. For example if you want to write Flash Fiction. 1: find a flash fiction competition. 2: Read previous winners. 3: Make a list of possible subjects to write. Or, in the case of the feature. 1: Buy a copy of publication you are aiming for. 2: Establish which features are written by freelancers. 3: Work on a proposal for your feature and send it to the editor.
- Next, split your piece of paper into days of the week. Under each day, write the next three things you will do to move your goal forward. As it’s a writing goal many of them will be doing the actual writing. So you may find your later goals look like this. 1. Write the opening paragraph, 2. make a list of possible titles. 3. Edit previous day’s work. Etc.
- Commit to doing the 3 tasks you’ve set for yourself for at least ONE WEEK. This can take you a considerable way on small goals. Probably past completion. On bigger goals you may be motivated enough to carry on.
Top Tip to help you make this work
Don’t overstretch yourself. Don’t commit to writing 1000 words of your novel every day for a week if you know you don’t have time. Your rule of three can be tiny things. On a busy day your three things may be to write three paragraphs that day. Or three sentences if you like! The point is that you MUST do the three thing you’ve written in your notepad daily. A continual, concerted daily effort is incredibly powerful. The most magnificent castle begins with the laying of a single brick! OK, this picture isn’t a castle, it’s the Fishguard BayHotel in Pembrokeshire! But it’s certainly a castle for writers twice a year. See The Writer’s Holiday. which I highly recommend by the way!
Where was I?
Ah yes, I use the rule of three on a regular basis in all of my work. It’s brilliant for writing projects. Small and large. It’s also brilliant for promotional work if you’re trying to promote a book, for example.
My January goal in case you’re interested, is to write the next novella in the series of The Reading Group, which is my current project. I will write 2000 words a day, weekdays, 1000 words at weekends, until I have a first draft. My commitment is to start at 8.00 a.m. and do nothing else until the 2000 words are done. This is how I wrote the rest of the series.