I found this advice so useful, I typed it out and stuck it on the wall by my desk. Unfortunately, I didn’t note where it came from. So, my apologies to the author, but it’s definitely worth sharing.
“Turning pro is free, but it is not easy. You don’t need to take a course or buy a product. All you have to do is change your mind.” Steven Pressfield.
1. Show up every day
The first thing you need to do is start showing up. If you are a writer, aim to sit in your chair first.
All things start with a first step. Your job as a writer is to sit down.
2. Stay on the job
Get rid of the distractions and stay put. Keep going.
3. Commit to the long haul
If you have a calling, you have to acknowledge that and stay in the game. It is probably going to be a long, hard one.
4. Be patient
Committed for the long haul? Now you need patience. Bucket loads of.
5. Seek order
“The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits. We can never free ourselves from habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones. We can trade in the habits of the amateur and the addict for the practice of the professional and the committed artist or entrepreneur.”
Do you have a schedule that you follow? Do you have a routine in place?
The best way to defeat habits of procrastination and the inability to start anything is to streamline everything. Take the guesswork out. Know what it is that needs to be done and dive into it. Don’t think.
6. Act in the face of fear
Fear is good. Remember the lessons you teach your own children – brave is someone who is not without fear but who moves ahead in spite of it. Now follow the advice yourself.
Yes, you are afraid. So am I, but we still have to work, okay?
7. Accept no excuses
“In his heart, the amateur knows he’s hiding. He knows he was meant for better things. If the amateur had empathy for himself, he could look in the mirror and not hate what he sees. Achieving this compassion is the first powerful step towards moving from being an amateur to being a pro.”
8. Be prepared
“Practise before you need it so that when you do, you will have it.”
Be prepared. Begin with the right mindset. Be in control.
9. Don’t over-identify with the job
As far as work is concerned, the nature of it will vary. Try and take a step back. Leave some wiggle room to improve, discard or alter your offering.
10. Ask for help
Surround yourself with people who support you. Get rid of all naysayers. And when things get hard, ask for help.
11. Don’t take failure or success personally
“The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work. The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, as they like.”
12. Do self-validate
You are human. You are not perfect, but you don’t have to be what others think you should be. You don’t need everybody’s approval.
But you do need your own.
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz