The Prolific Writer: Truths 1 and 2

Color outside the linesOkay. It’s a new year. Maybe you didn’t quite finish that novel or short story last year. Heck, maybe you didn’t even get it started. It doesn’t really matter.

What matters is today. Right now. And, understanding the difference between a stated goal and an accomplished one.

The difference is very simple. What you have is exactly aligned with what you are committed to having/doing/accomplishing. So, though you may have thought about writing a new book or story or article, if you weren’t committed to getting it done, it didn’t get done. And the truth is – and I found this out up close and personal – that sometimes we are more committed to the easier path than we are to doing what’s needed to become a writer of completed projects.

You’ve heard this before, I’m sure. Be willing to commit your words to the paper or screen on a regular basis. Every day. Every weekend. Every summer break. Whatever you can promise and deliver on. But develop the habit of writing regularly by whatever means you have at your disposal. Colored pencil, crayons, pen and ink, keyboard, typewriter, AlphaSmart, whatever!

It won’t be easy to do this, no matter how wonderful and honorable a person you are.  Whenever we make a  new declaration to change/grow/complete/succeed, the universe tosses that same amount of energy in our face to discourage us. Of course, like resistance training, it makes us stronger – but only if we don’t cave!

So, now you are armed with a couple of truths:

  1. Right now, you have exactly what you are committed to having. If you will commit to finishing your work, you will finish your work. I don’t care if it is 100 words or 100,000.And write that goal down and post it by your work area.
  2. The second truth is that when you declare you’ll do something awesome (again, 100 words or 100,000) every conceivable obstacle will come up for you. Stand fast and forge ahead.


  1. PUTT YOUR BUTT IN THE CHAIR every single day! Write 1 page, or 500 words, or for ten minutes, or for an hour, but do it regularly and don’t kid yourself. Writing one page per day for a year will result in a 365 page draft! That’s larger than most mainstream novels these days. Want to take weekends off? Okay – that’s 261 pages in a year and that’s still a decent sized manuscript!
  2. KEEP YOUR WORD with yourself and with others. Be careful not to commit to so much you can’t possibly write; and make promises that you can keep, even if it takes a little stretch. You and your dreams are worth the effort! Completing projects builds confidence, energy and creates new opportunities.

I’m preaching to me as well as to you. I love editing and copy writing and helping people publish their work, but I also love to write. I helped a lot of folks with a lot of things in 2014 and I wouldn’t undo any of it. But, I’ve let my fiction writing languish in the closet. So, I’ve set some new goals for myself, too.

And, I know why this evening, the pipes under the kitchen sink burst, flooding my kitchen cabinet and floor. I don’t care. It’s mopped up, the water valve is off and for tonight, I’ll just write that 2 pages anyway. And just think – if we turn every one of those obstacles into the “what if” exercise, they all become fodder for that writing!

See you next week with some more tips for The Prolific Writer in you! Keep reading and writing. Nancy Q.



About NL Quatrano

Award-winning author, speaker, editor and ghost writer, Nancy owns a full-time editing, writing and specialty publishing business: On-Target Words/WC Publishing. Volunteer/member of professional writing organizations including Florida Writers Assoc., Sisters in Crime, and AWAI. 2010 Professional Woman of the Year by the NAPW. Linked in Editor Pick May 2013. International Women's Leadership Association nominee for Outstanding Leadership 2014.
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3 Responses to The Prolific Writer: Truths 1 and 2

  1. Preach it sister! My adult son, his wife, their one and a half year old son, and let’s not forget their dog, now live with us. The child wasn’t allowed electronic devices unsupervised. So, when I opened my laptop, it must have meant it’s time to watch the choo choo video with Nana! So sweet. So adorable. So unproductive.

    My laptop is now tucked away in my room, on a dresser, waiting for the five minutes I can steal away to write. Or check my email. Or check my facebook. Or play a game that doesn’t involve a choo choo. . 😀

  2. NL Quatrano says:

    Oh, dearest Jeanie – I hear you! There seems NO end to the possible distractions! But you take those five minutes! They WILL add up, I promise you! Tuck a little notepad in your purse – or invest in a little digital recorder for when in the car alone. All of that will add up as my mentors April Kihlstrom and Chris Materra taught us newbies more than 20 years ago! Just don’t stop! And best wishes for all the family stuff working out in a wonderful way! Keep me posted.

  3. Reblogged this on Opal Alexandria and commented:
    She harnessed my tung – grounded my words – helped me harness my thoughts. Word – it got real!

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