Sunday, March 21, 2010

I fell off the wagon

Write every day. Even if it's just a sentence.

Advice frequently given to new/aspiring writers. A rule that is not to-the-letter followed by all writers. Here's how I found out that maybe it's a maxim worth designing your entire writing life around.

About a month ago I got fed up with my lack of productivity and decided to actually get some stuff done. Every day for the next 90 days I was going to make progress on my writing, whether it was outlining, rewriting, brainstorming, notecarding, character sketches, whatever. I had to do something to push a project forward, even if it was as small as writing a sentence in my off the books fiction story. And for the most part, actual progress was minimal (except on that fiction piece). But it was the habit that was important. Every day I'd have to make time to write, no matter how busy or tired I was. And sometimes, once I got started, I would actually make some progress. Keys to the Garden has been restructured and is now ready to undergo the next rewrite. This wouldn't have happened if I hadn't made a little effort every day.

And then something happened this week. I was really busy one day, and I just forgot. And then the next day rolled around. I was annoyed that I had forgotten to write the previous day, and I was really busy again. Forgot AGAIN. And when the third day came around, I was busy or not in the mood or something, and it was so easy for me to say, "Heck no way am I writing today. It's not like I've been keeping up with my goal anyway." (This is how dieters gain weight.)

But the next day, I climbed back on the wagon. I wrote. But I had lost my momentum. It's like starting back at Day 1. Write a sentence here, there, make it count as progress, fulfill the (oh so difficult) quota and move on. Putting in too little effort on projects that will never amount to anything. It might take another two weeks to get myself back to a habit of working for a significant amount of time on projects that might really move forward. All because I didn't write for three days.

Kinda a pain. And now I have to go pick up my pen and jot a few sentences of my story down before I collapse for the night. Gotta fill the quota.

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