“I write when I’m inspired and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.” (Peter DeVries)
Now, for the record, I slack off many days and don’t always keep up with my newest WIP. As I mentioned, daily tasks, the day job, family and other things continually vie for my attention. It takes discipline to flex the writing muscle each day so let’s talk about some ways to make that happen.
- Set goals. There are three types of goals—immediate, short-term and long-term. Once you figure out exactly where you want to be, the journey towards getting there becomes a little bit easier.
- Make a decision. Decide to write each day—even if you only write in your journal, you need to flex your writing muscle every day. It’s how you grow as a writer and you don’t allow your skills to get stale.
- Be Flexible & prepared. Obviously, there will be days that you don’t accomplish each writing goal that you set out to finish. Be open to stretching those writing muscles so you don’t pull a muscle by too much rigidity in your mindset—not allowing for failure. Forgive yourself when you don’t reach your goals, but then get your but back in gear for a new start the next day.
- Deflect distractions. True, we won’t be able to rid ourselves of all distractions—unless of course, we decide to get stranded on a deserted island and write all day long…and even then, I think we’d find a way to distract ourselves! Set a specific time during the day where you can write and not be interrupted. If you write better in the morning, pick that time or in the evening etc., whatever works well for you.
- Welcome accountability. This is the one factor that we may not like—however, it will most likely help us the most in our quest to finish the next great novel. Find an accountability partner. Maybe it will be your spouse or best friend or fellow writing buddy. Whoever it is, you need to find someone that you trust to be patient with you, but also give you that push you may need to get back on track.
- Re-evaluate the plan. Don’t be afraid to reassess the situation—think of it as a necessary evil. Not many people like to get tested on performance, but if you truly want to succeed, you need to always be open to evaluating your progress. This process is hard for me, but I’ve learned to take a step back and assess the situation.
- Regroup & continue. Once you’ve assessed the situation and realized what’s working and what isn’t, take a breather and then get back to work. Just as with exercise, when you stop for a while, it’s more difficult to get into the routine again—but once you get back on track, you feel rejuvenating and energized with your progress. If you’re flexible and ready to work hard, you’ll figure out your own rhythm and what works best for you.