How Great Writers Prepare for Big Projects

Great Writers PrepareThis is Day 5 in the Great Writers Series. If you’re just joining us, you can get caught up on last week’s lessons here.

You have something you want to share with the world. Maybe it’s a book, a play, a piece of art, or something else.

Whether you have ten novels under your belt or you’re scared to start a blog, there’s work you’ve yet to create.

And for some reason, you’re still preparing for it. Still waiting for your shot, telling yourself you’ll get to it… some day.

But the truth is you won’t. Not really. Admit it: You’re stalling. Waiting for perfect, all the while letting good pass you by.

There is a difference between putting things off and preparing. Preparation is good; procrastination is not. Let’s talk about the former.

Real preparation

You know you’re preparing when:

  • You’re getting better every day.
  • People keep asking you, “When are you going to publish X?”
  • You’re building measurable momentum.

So let’s say you’re not preparing to launch something big and you want to. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Ship something. Anything. It doesn’t matter how bad it is, just put it out there.
  2. Get feedback. If this is an eBook or article idea, even a book proposal, one way you can do this is ask readers, friends, or fans to proofread something you’re working on. Send it to them, give them a deadline, and ask for brutally honest critiques.
  3. Make it better. Trust your heart and intuition, but also apply some of the feedback you received.
  4. Repeat until the project is ready to launch.

This is how just about anything works in this digital landscape — in a world where technology gives you unlimited chances at success. Ship and tweak, ship and tweak, ship and tweak.

The challenge

See #1. Ship it. Put something out there, anything. Don’t wait; move something forward.

You don’t need to know everything, just the next step. If it’s a big project, you don’t have to finish the whole thing; just finish part of it. But for crying out loud, do something.

Then tell us about it. Heck, share it here with this community; you might be surprised who’s willing to help you and whom you inspire. Whatever you do, make sure you’re doing more than stalling. There’s enough of that already.

Because the work you do is practice for the next thing, preparation for tomorrow. And if all you’re doing is stalling, what are you really preparing for? Exactly. Nothing.

Need help with this? A great book is Do the Work by Steven Pressfield (affiliate link). Oh, and today is the last day to get my audio program, The Writer’s Studio, before the price goes up tomorrow. Grab it here.

How are you preparing for your big project? Share in the comments. And make sure you’re following along on Facebook and Twitter (using the hash tag #15habits).