A few days ago, my friend Joe sent a link to a podcast episode he thought some of his friends would like. Now Joe is a professional personal trainer and very athletic, so when I started listening to the episode host, Craig Groeschel of Life.Church, talk about jujutsu and wrestling, I was thinking that Joe overestimated my interest in getting more fit. Hahaha! (Joe helped me get in better shape when I was training for a half marathon a couple years ago.)
But as I listened to this episode I started thinking about writing. What is the difference between “trying” and “training” when it comes to writing, finishing, and publishing books?
To give you an example, I’ve been “trying” to finish rebranding and republishing my backlist for the last two years. Two years?! Yes! And I can explain every single thing that has come up, gone wrong, had to be fixed, and all the reasons finishing has been bumped lower on my priority list every month. But that is what “trying” looks like.
I’m trying, but I got busy.
I’m trying, but I got sick.
I’m trying, but I had to wait for my audiobook narrator to be free to make the changes.
I’m trying, but after I upgraded Vellum a couple of my old files wouldn’t open.
I’m trying, but I should put my clients’ work first ahead of my own, always.
And on and on. See any of your excuses — good reasons — for why something in your writing life still isn’t done?
Now let’s compare it to training. When I’m training to run a half marathon, I have to commit in advance to 4-6 months of work because I’m about to pre-pay for that race. At the beginning, I’ll need to take about 5-10 hours a week to focus on running and weight training. By the month before the race, that number is up to at least 15 hours a week. That’s just to finish the race, avoid injuries, and be in the range of my average time. To try to beat my best time will take more work (i.e., more time).
Sitting here in my warm living room on a snowy cold day in March, that doesn’t sound too appealing. (If I’m thinking about it on a day the sun’s out, it gets more appealing! Haha!) But I really like the idea of beating my best time, faster for me than I’ve ever run before, at the age of 55 (in two weeks!). After all, I beat my best time two years ago when I was 53. What if I could have my all-time fastest race when I’m 60?
Now I’m weighing excitement against what I’ll have to do (see above) and what I’ll have to give up (time that I could be writing, watching TV, hanging out with friends).
That’s the difference between trying and training — what am I willing to commit to, what will I do more of, and what am I willing to give up in order to meet my goals?
I had all of these ah-ha’s going off in my head during that 30-minute podcast, and I immediately saw a couple areas of my writing life where I needed to STOP TRYING. “I’m trying” is often a phrase that is waiting to be filled with excuses (even good ones!). But “I’m training” says I’m learning how to do what I need to do, I’m applying what I’m learning, and I’m going to keep evaluating my progress and tweaking what I do.
Whether we’re on book one or book one hundred, there is someone we can learn from. If something was working for us once but no longer works, there is something we can tweak to get back on track — or get onto a different track we now want to be on.
What’s going on in your life, writing or otherwise, that is now waving its hand at you, shouting, “Over here! Stop trying! Start training!” You can do it!
And it will be worth it! 😀
…And since I’m a book coach and help people not only finish their books, but self-publish their books…yup, I had another client! (This one pays with kisses and backrubs and…ah-hem…moving on!) So as we insert another long story here, I’m now officially a publisher since I publish two authors. Whoa!
What can an author do with artificial intelligence and ChatGPT?
March featured author Kitty Bucholtz has combined her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher turned coach.
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