Monday, September 27, 2010

Make habits work for you

Christine and I were talking this week about employing personal strategies which would lead to greater consistency as writers. When you're a mom, consistency can be tough to achieve, but the more people I talk to, the more I think that if you're alive and breathing at all, becoming consistent is hard work. On the mom side, there are a lot of little things to stay on top of, and some of them keep moving around, making messes for you to find an inconvenient moments.

Anyway, we decided that support in the form of other writers (namely the power of peer pressure used for good) is a strategic tool we can use to hit our weekly writing goals. That's what we did during Nanowrimo, for example, and it worked great. Somehow, in less than 26 days last November, I wrote a 50,000 word novel. So did Laura and Christine. I looked back, totally amazed. How did we do that? Consistency! Okay, so there were also chocolate, coffee, and other perks involved, but the important thing is, we did it.

There was one testimonial that I read last year that made such an impression on me that I actually remember it even now. One gal had participated in the previous 2008 Nanowrimo, and had just decided not to quit writing after it was over. She didn't want to lose her momentum. By the time 2009 rolled around, she had several completed manuscripts under her belt, and had been contracted to publish one of them. Her skill was developing as she continued to write consistently, and it was getting her somewhere.

True, she was stuck with her husband in a foreign country where he was stationed, and I don't think she knew the language, so she probably didn't have anything better to do. However, she was typing her word quota faithfully, and I think she would have done it even in the States. The point is, if it worked for her, it will work for anyone.

So Christine and I decided it would be good to pick a doable goal for a basement word quota, which we as busy moms think any writer would be able to commit to. We chose 5000 words a week. It's not as ambitious as Nano, which is about 12,000 to 14,000 words a week, but it is a nice round non-threatening number. Plus, we know that if we do just that, we'll be able to make steady progress which will in turn produce a rough draft in about two and a half months, minimum.

So here's to overcoming those excuses for not writing. If you want to come on board for this minimum challenge, you can post a comment. Many of you writers are doing more than 5000 words a week, and that's okay. The idea is to just create a minimum accountability that will cause you to keep moving forward even when life gets hectic and challenging.

Just like Nano, don't allow yourself to stop. Don't care when it's lousy. I'll tell you in advance that it will be. Pay no attention. Just keep writing. Everything can be fixed, so fix it later. For now, write! Are you with us?

No comments:

Post a Comment