Hi! I’m L.M. Sherwin and I’m in the process of self-publishing my first book! I work full-time from home as a novelist, writing blogger, and as Maiedae’s Administrative Maven, Ad Manager, and Chief Editor. My days are full of doing the things I love. About a year and a half ago, I was in the middle of a job I absolutely hated and all I thought about were the stories in my head and becoming an author. My husband encouraged me to pursue my life dreams of becoming a full-time novelist, so I did! I was able to leave my job at the end of May and I started working as hard as I could on my novels and Maiedae work from home. It hasn’t been an easy road, but I’ve certainly learned a lot about turning your dreams into manageable, accomplishable goals! I’m here today to share with you 5 things I’ve learned about dreaming, setting goals, and achieving them.
challenged me to write an hour a day. I took his challenge and I made it happen, even with a day-job and domestic responsibilities. With the exception of horrible sick days or family emergencies, I wrote every single day for an hour. That doesn’t seem like much, but in one year, I wrote four manuscripts—three novels and one novella. After I had established the habit, my dream had become a goal—to write books and pursue publishing. After a year of hard work, my dreams finally looked as though they might come true!
2. Excuses and emergencies are not the same thing. ---> When you begin to set goals for yourself, life will somehow wind its way into your priorities and make your goals seem impossible to accomplish. However, if you want to achieve your dreams, your goals MUST be a priority in your life. If you are tired one night, that is not an excuse; get your butt up and work on your goals! If a family emergency comes up, cut yourself some slack. I am a tad bit obsessive and it was hard for me, at first, to accept that sometimes life happens and you HAVE to take a break from your dreams. Usually, though it’s only for 1-2 days. Learn how to distinguish between something that takes precedent over your goal work and something that is just your mind talking you out of pursuing your dream. We get sick, we get tired. But if you can function normally, don’t make your tiredness or sicknesses an excuse to avoid working on your dream. If it’s not an emergency, don’t let it interfere with your goal work schedule!
3. Communicate to your family and friends how important your dreams are. ---> One of the best ways to communicate your dreams to your family is to follow the first two items above, but if you are already doing those things, more might be required. Most people are won over by displays of discipline and commitment. If you have turned your dreams into goals and are making them a priority in your life, most likely your family and friends will be on board. However, if you want to leave a day-job in order to pursue your dreams, it might take a little extra communication. Discuss your plans with your loved ones and talk about how important they are to you. Sometimes, it can be difficult to make your dreams achievable when you are in committed relationships with other people, but if it is that important to you, you’ll talk about your needs with your loved ones and they’ll honor you.
4. Start doing creative cross training. ---> I have spoken about this on my own blog before, but one thing I believe in very strongly is creative cross training. If your dream is creative in nature and you have made goals to achieve it, you need to be engaging in creative cross training. This involves fostering your inner imagination and creativity by participating in activities outside of your passion. Because I am a writer, it is of the utmost importance that I take adequate time outside of my work to read, craft, draw, paint, and do other activities that keep my creative mind stimulated. Just like the muscles of our body get used to one activity, your dreams and goals can cause your brain to get stuck in a rut. You can’t stop pursuing your goals, but you can do other activities that can help your brain experience new things of the same creative variety. This will keep your mind and imagination fresh and active so that you can approach your goals with energy and vigor every day! Find some other hobbies that are of the same feeling as your primary goal activity and jump in!
5. Reward Yourself. ---> Many people operate in their lives without treating themselves with care and love. If you have turned your dreams into goals and have been working hard on achieving them, you need to take care of yourself along the way. Those of you out there who have been on this road a while know how tough it can be to keep motivated when you get tired and burnt out. One of the best ways to keep yourself motivated and healthy is to provide yourself with realistic rewards along the way and big rewards when you accomplish a goal. One thing I like to do to make sure I am productive each day is to use mini-breaks as rewards. For instance, I’ll write 1 page and then get to check social media for a minute or two. Then, I’ll write another page, etc. That way, I am being productive, but I am rewarding myself for my work. When I publish my first book (in the next two months!!!), I will be treating myself to a HUGE reward of some sort. I’m not really sure what I’ll choose, but I will definitely be rewarding myself for all of my hard work. You should do the same. Accomplishing goals is a very big deal. Treat yourself like it is.
Thanks for reading my 5 things! I hope they were of help to you in your journey. Also, thank you so much, Savannah, for having me as a guest on your blog today! I appreciate Maiedae so much and everything it stands for!
Find Leah Here: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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Call for 5 Things contributors! -- If you have great advice to contribute about blogging, running a small business, staying inspired, setting goals, or staying organized, please contact me at Savannah@maiedae.com about being featured in a 5 Things post. :)
Leah is an amazing writer and an invaluable contribution to a lot of the work that goes on behind Maiedae. Thank you, Leah, for your wonderful advice!!