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By Brit Poe

When you ask many people about the actions that will help you build a successful author career, you generally an array of advice that sounds like this:

“Write, write, write.”

“Write every single day.”

“Butt in chair!”

While it’s true that actually writing the words you will be selling is an extremely important habit to form, it’s not the only one that will impact your journey to success as an author. Did you know that studies have shown that more than 40% of the actions we perform each day are habits, rather than decisions? So if we can begin to develop positive, beneficial habits instead of simply hoping for a better outcome of our efforts, can you imagine how much more impactful our days will become in the long run?

Below we have 5 healthy and easily implementable habits that you can start forming today to begin making strides toward your authorship goals!

Become Goal Oriented and Action Focused

In most cases, success happens as a result of dedicated work and consistent action toward the achievement of a certain goal. The best kind of goals are those that are both attainable and measurable. If you are setting unrealistic goals, you’ll always fall short. If you don’t provide a way to measure the goals you are setting, you won’t be able to properly assess your progress and attainment of that goal. So if your desired outcome is to build your email list, your goal may be to increase your newsletter subscribers by 20% by January 1. See how this goal allows you to track your progress along the way?

Perhaps even more important than the goal itself are the actions you will take to achieve the goal. If you want to grow your list by 20%, what exactly will you need to do? What tasks do you need to schedule in each day, week, or month? Breaking your goals down into action steps makes your goals more attainable.

Action steps for this habit:

Once a month, set aside an Author CEO Date with yourself to set goals for the month ahead, outline and assign due dates to the tasks that will help achieve your goals, and then check in with yourself once a week to make sure you are on track.

Do The Thing Before You’re “Ready”

Many people wait for the right feeling to decide they are “ready” to do something. Writing a novel, launching a series, building their author platform. They sit and wait for this feeling of “readiness” to appear before they leap. But the feeling they’re waiting for isn’t readiness at all, it’s a certainty. And waiting for certainty can mean waiting a lifetime. Successful authors don’t have a lifetime to decide it’s time to take action. They have now. Don’t let yourself be the one standing in the way of your own success.

Action steps for this habit:

That thing you’ve been waiting to do in your author journey but just haven’t felt “ready” to do yet? Take the leap. Remember, there are no prerequisites to success.

Invest In Your Success

When I say invest, most people jump straight to thinking about money. And while paid trainings, tools, and other monetary-based investments like author coaching may make the biggest strides toward success, there are also other ways to invest resources into your author business. Time, energy, and focus are all ways you can prioritize your business. Dedicate yourself investing into your business routinely. Even just small, consistent investments each day will help get you closer to your goals. And since what you focus on expands, the more effort, or investment, you make, the more return you will see.

Action steps for this habit:

First decide on how you are able to invest in your business right now. If you can invest in a program or tool that will help you get results, do it. If you aren’t to that point yet, stick to one of the other methods of investment. Set a daily author routine that supports all aspects of your business — creative, business management, and marketing. And commit to it.

Focus On The Data, Not The Drama

When something doesn’t go as planned (or as hoped for), it’s hard not to let yourself feel defeated. Your book launch flopped, your AMS ads stopped working, your engagement on Facebook tanked, all of these things can leave you feeling discouraged or panicked, which isn’t the best mindset to function out of when it comes to growing your business. In times like these, successful authors have learned to focus on the data, instead of drama.

In other words, instead of allowing yourself to fall into the pit of despair and stay there for weeks, make it a habit to ask yourself why this happened. What elements played into the outcome? What pieces can you tweak, test, or try something different with? Is there a lesson you can learn from this experience and apply it next time you set out to do this task? Because in authorpreneurship, there will be a next time. That’s what resilience is all about.

Action steps for this habit:

Next time something isn’t going as planned, instead of reaching for the “panic button”, put on your “curiosity hat”. Look at the situation analytically so that you can try to either troubleshoot the issue for a better overall outcome or improve the next attempt. For bonus points, even if your attempts are going splendidly, do track the data! Knowing what actions are generating the best results and which ones are the least performing will allow you to audit out the unnecessary and prioritize the high-returning tasks so that you scale more easily in the future.

Expand Your Network

Have you ever heard that you are the sum of the 5 people you surround yourself with the most? While I don’t completely agree with that statement, I have learned the importance of building a strong support system as an author. And, I say “learned” because as an introvert (INFJ, if you are interested in Myers Briggs) reaching out and connecting with others didn’t come natural to me. It’s true that writing tends to be a solitary pursuit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a community backing you and rooting you on. Support as an author can come in a few different flavors:

  • Peer support — other authors at about the same place in their author journey as you working toward similar goals
  • Mentor support — authors who are a few steps further than you on their author journey who have been there, done that and can share some wisdom with you
  • Fan support — those ideal readers who love your books and push you to write the next one
  • Cheerleaders — these people may not be directly related to your author business but whose support is still important (think your significant other or best friend)

Ideally, you will be able to make connections in each of these different pools of people since they open you up to so many beneficial opportunities like having someone who “gets” what you are doing, accountability, guidance, collaboration, encouragement, or simply having someone to talk to.

Action steps for this habit:

Luckily, there are lots of ways to build your network as an author. Involve yourself in your local writing community, attend a convention or bookish event, head to your favorite social media platform and search for the author communities inside, set a date once a month to grab a coffee with a fellow writer friend.

How To Start New Habits

Now you may be wondering how you can begin implementing these behavior patterns. Changing negative habits to a positive habit takes time and consistency for it to stick, but it’s not too hard to do. There are three main stages of a habit formation: cue, routine, and reward. By identifying the cue that triggers your habit, you can change the routine and reward!