I’ll be honest, I wrote this blog partly to motivate myself. I’m behind on my new novel and I’m getting frustrated. My self-discipline’s been lacking. Let’s face it, we’re all busy, and many things compete for our time – an intense day job, family obligations, kids, household chores. We can use any excuse to derail our creative process. In order to counter this and get back on track, I have to commit to a daily discipline around my writing.
You’ve probably heard this little tidbit of advice before: If you write a page a day, every day, in a year you’ll have a novel. Sometimes, I like to play with the math. It’s fun. 250 words a day, times 7 days a week, times 52 weeks, equals 91,000 words. A novel. Or, 500 words a day, times 7 days a week, times 52 weeks, equals 182,000 words. A really long novel. Or, 1000 words a day, times 7 days a week, times 12 weeks, equals 84,000 words. Still a novel – but in only three months’ time. You too can play with the calculations and set an achievable goal according to your project and deadline. My point is that by working a little bit #EveryDamnDay, like the Nike t-shirt suggests, you will finish writing the book!
You can keep your project moving forward by following a schedule, and by looking for extra opportunities to write during the course of the day. Everyone’s rhythm is different, and there’s no right way, but here are a few ideas to help stay on track:
- Before you go to bed, review where you ended your day’s writing, and plan the scene you’ll work on tomorrow. Take a few notes and do some thinking about it. When you know where you’re going next, you can get right to it as soon as you have the chance.
- Get up 30 minutes earlier than usual. Use that time over coffee in a quiet house to review yesterday’s writing and the notes you’ve created about today’s scene. Then start. Even if you only have 20 or 30 minutes to work, you’ll get the process going for the day.
- Use a lunch break, or some kind of break during the work day for writing. Find a quiet space and dive back into your fictional world for a little while.
- Unplug the television and write after dinner. When you’ve finished the draft, reward yourself by binge watching the entire season of Stranger Things!
- Weekends are a perfect time to carve out consecutive hours. Take yourself off to the coffee shop in the morning. You can be back by noon and still have the whole day ahead of you.
- Find opportunities to squeeze in additional writing time during the day. Do you take a train to work? If yes, plug in the earbuds and get to work! Do you have to wait at the bus stop for the kids? If so, bring your notebook and arrive a few minutes early. Do you have a doctor’s appointment? A laptop travels.
Life can definitely get in the way of our writing if we let it. But, creating a regular schedule and committing to that schedule will push us toward our goal. I’m ready to take my own advice and finish writing this book! Join me?