I read my first Jon Acuff book because of his hilarious Twitter feed. I read all the rest because of his great writing skills. I slapped my money on the counter a month before “Finish” was even out because I knew it’d challenge me.
It did, and it also inspired me to rewatch a ton of Will Smith movies, but that’s beside the point. (Chapter six explains it.)
Turns out, I can only read three pages at a time before I fly out of the room searching for a pen and paper or I close my eyes and ponder my internal dialogue for the next 10 minutes about goals and how much I actually think I can pull this off.
Here’s the way I see it. If a fitness buff writes a book, and every chapter compels the reader to do spontaneous jumping jacks or dig a bag of carrots out of the fridge, then that’s an amazing self-help book. If it just made the reader close the back cover and say, “Huh,” then I’m less convinced of its greatness.
So I’d say if “Finish” interrupted me that often, delaying my completion of the actual text for a solid month, then it’s a glorified success. You’ve done it again, Mr. Acuff.
Here are my three biggest takeaways after reading “Finish”
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS.
1. Success comes the day after perfect.
Brene Brown talks about a “face down in the arena” moment when a challenge knocks us down. She says rather than hide your shame and scramble to your feet as quickly as you can, lift your head and take in your surroundings. Evaluate what is true about your circumstance and what is false. Identify the hecklers in the cheap seats and tell yourself, “I’m the one who was brave enough to step into the arena. Until they’re willing to walk this walk, I’m not interested in their feedback.”
A lot of people believe the lie that messing up their New Year’s Resolution once means they should just quit. The day after “perfect” is that crucial moment when you embrace your faults and KEEP GOING ANYWAY.
For me, that meant to keep writing my book proposal in the face of rejection or missed word count goals.
2. Cut your goal in half.
For the last few months, I’ve become the admin for three Facebook groups. I also run a business Facebook page and Instagram profile. Up until reading “Finish,” I posted on each of those five platforms daily. Guess how much writing got done during that time?
It wasn’t pretty.
That’s when I decided to slice my goal in half. If the point of building a platform on social media was to be a more credible author to publishers, but it was restricting my ability to write my book, something had to change.
I chopped every platform down to every other day.
In my primary Facebook group, Christian Moms Who Write, the reduced discussion threads were actually a welcome sight to many of the members. I feared I was reducing the value of the group, but they appreciated the consolidation of topics to give them more time to work on their businesses outside of Facebook.
What can seem like a negative may just spin itself into a positive.
3. Avoid noble obstacles.
Got any obstacles hogging your creative space? I’ve got a few. Watching videos of moms rapping to cover songs in their kitchens, Star Wars updates, and Netflix lead me astray time and time again.
Those are easy to define but noble obstacles are much more difficult to track down. Even though these tasks are valuable, they may still sabotage your efforts to finish a goal without you even realizing it. Here are a few examples from my own life:
- Revising my first chapter 20 times instead of breaking ground on the next chapter.
- Tweaking my website repeatedly instead of publishing my next blog post.
- Drafting articles to pitch to clients when I need to work on my book proposal.
- Watching Star Wars updates. For me, that pursuit is still noble.
These are important parts of my business, but if I’m not careful, I’ll spend so much time scheduling social media content that I’ll miss my opportunity to work on the book that day.
It all just comes down to identifying those noble obstacles and balancing them with your end goal.
“Finish” helped me balance my work, family, Star Wars obsession, and book proposal until I finally clicked “Send” and watched it travel across the cyberworld into the inbox of a literary agent. I’ll always be grateful for this resource and highly recommend it to anyone who’s ready to tackle a goal.
Find it here:
What’s the next big goal you’d like to finish? Drop a line in the comments below!
Join the newsletter
Sign up to join "5 Days to a Better Pitch" here!