Tips for Aspiring Authors

One of the best pieces of advice I ever read was: "writers write." Sounds like a no-brainer, right? It's not. Lots of people dream of writing their memoirs or the great American novel. But how many work on it every day, inching their way to that goal word by word?

I'm guilty of procrastinating too. So many things are easier than writing -- cleaning the house, working out, pulling weeds. Here are some ideas to stop deferring your dream and make it happen:

1. Find a time to write each day. Even if you just have 10 minutes to spare, sit down and make it count.

2. Believe you can do it.

3. Break a big assignment into smaller parts. You want to write a novel? Start with page one. Maybe next week, you will write another page or 10. Stay consistent and you'll reach the finish line.

4. Write anything. Sometimes the hardest part is facing that blank page or computer screen. Silence your internal critic and write whatever you're thinking -- even if it doesn't make sense. The goal is to get your creativity flowing.

5. Cut off the phone and turn off the TV. If you have children, ask your spouse, relative or friend to watch them while you work. While you're at it, stay off the web unless you're researching for your piece. Surfing can be fun but it steals time from your dream.

6. Say no. If you're one of those people who gets pulled every which way, start turning down some requests. If you don't care about your goal, no one else will.

7. Keep a dream book. Now, I'm not talking about one of those old-school paperbacks that depending on what you dreamed at night had a list of lottery numbers to play. I mean create a journal where you chop down the limits in your mind and let your imagination soar. What do you want to write? Why? Who do you want to be?

8. Reward yourself. Kids love incentives for completing a task. So do we. Make a pledge that if you meet your writing goal -- writing every day for a month or an hour each week, whatever you decide -- you'll treat yourself to something special.

9. Surround yourself with doers. To be able to dream, think around boundaries, is a gift. But you need a healthy dose of grit to make it come true. Cultivate friends who already have that drive and take a cue from them.