Reader Contract

At a workshop a few years ago, I heard Jacqueline Sheehan, an accomplished novelist, talk about some of the approaches she used to keep herself motivated — not easy when writing a major piece of fiction!

I liked one of her techniques so much that I used it while working on my start-up action guide, Birthing the Elephant. She suggested drawing up a “contract” whenever you start a new project. The contract spells out what you intend to provide your readers in return for their devoting their precious time and attention to your work.

Digging around in my office, I managed to find my Birthing the Elephant contract — there are some advantages to being a paper addict! Since it might give you an idea for one of your own, I’m reproducing it here — just exactly as I jotted it down on a pink index card when I was in the throes of writing my book.

My contract with my reader:

I promise to devote every waking hour to giving you the best, most helpful information.

I promise to do everything I can to empower you to take control of your destiny, to free yourself from employment slavery, and to help you pursue your dream.

I will carry a notebook with me every day for new ideas.

I will write and rewrite until the book sparkles with joy and inspiration!

I kept this index card “contract” on my desk where I saw it every day. To be honest, I didn’t follow it to the letter, but I tried to stick to the spirit of it: I used it as a touchstone to keep me honest and on track. Does this sound like it might work for you?

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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