Why am I qualified to write this post? Good question. 1. In January, my now-fiancé and I started courting. 2. In June, I got engaged. 3. Since then, I’ve been planning a wedding in about two and a half months.
In the meantime, I have published four books: a novella collection, a short story, and two novels, written 183,540 words (as of July 28th), and edited three of the four books published, plus a couple of the books I’ve started writing. How have I done this?
What does this mean? I didn’t really figure this out until June when my life suddenly got busier. Engagements will do that. In June, I decided I would write at least 10 minutes every day. Whether that was in a blog post, a journal, one of my works-in-progress (editing counts), or something else it didn’t matter. The point is, I was writing. Every. Single. Day. No matter how busy the day was.
That meant there were some days I wrote in the ten minutes before I went to bed. Some days, I got the writing done right after waking up. Other days I failed in my goal because I was simply too tired or forgot.
In July, that goal changed to 5 minutes a day and I almost made it. There were two days I didn’t write anything except emails which I suppose would also count.
The point is, you should make sure you set an attainable daily goal to stay in practice and keep your mind actively engaged.
This has literally been one of the main reasons I have written consistently this year and last. One of my writer-friends and I became accountability partners a while ago. Each morning (Monday-Friday), we send each other our goals, sometimes send each other encouragement throughout the day, and report either that night or the next morning as to how we did with our goals for the day.
Knowing that I have to report back to Amanda has really helped me some days. Like today. I told her I wanted to write 500 words today. My WIP is being difficult, so I’ve tried multiple times to start in on it. It still hasn’t worked, so I’m writing this blog post instead. If it doesn’t end up at 500 words, I’ll go back to my WIP again and see if I can get there. If not, at least I’ll have gotten something written today.
Your accountability partner does not have to be a writer. A trusted friend who also has daily goals (most people do, or would like to) would also be a great choice. The way Amanda and I started was when we both mentioned something about needing a little extra encouragement to actually get things done.
I don’t remember exactly when we started being partners, but I do know that my results in writing, housework, and other areas of my life have definitely gotten better and more consistent since we agreed to help each other. If you need an accountability partner and can’t find someone among your friends, let me know and I’d be happy to help you out.
I can hear you now. “Isn’t this the opposite of Tip #1?” Yes and no. During your busy times, it is good to have easily attainable goals so you can still get some writing done every day. However, it is also good to set a monthly, weekly, or an occasional daily goal that might stretch you a bit.
For example, yesterday (July 27) my goal was 500 words. I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time to write because I needed pack my things after cat-sitting for a few days, drive 45 minutes home, unpack, help can peaches, and make supper. On a normal day, 500 words is pretty easy if I don’t get stuck, but yesterday was far from normal. I didn’t even get around to doing any writing until around 9:30PM. And ended up writing 1,034 words in about 45 minutes… The best writing session I’d had all week.
Setting a goal that stretches you, especially if it’s coupled with having an accountability partner, can push you to get a little extra done that you didn’t think you could do. This stretch goal can either be for one day, one week, or month. That is completely up to you and what works best for you. Deadlines are a pretty good motivator for me usually, but I know other people get stifled by them. And actually I do, too, unless the deadlines are fairly flexible. Which is one reason I like being indie published, but that’s another topic.
What about you?
Do you have any tips on how to keep up with your writing during the busy times? Have you tried any of the tips I suggested? Did they help or hinder? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.