Howdy, howdy! Apparently, March arrived when I wasn’t looking. The problem with that is, it forces me to make a confession. I still haven’t finished the shitty first draft of my current novel attempt. There’s no real excuse for it. Sure, I could blame the killer headaches my allergies decided to unload on me. I could blame the general blahs I’ve been feeling for the past few months. But the truth is, I didn’t even push it with my writing on the days when I felt normal. I’d start writing and let myself get distracted by stupid things. I just haven’t been able to find the right rhythm for this particular novel. I’ve struggled with this one all along. So, I decided to do something I said I would never do.
I decided to write every single day (which is totally not as impressive as it sounds when done my way).
It’s one of those golden writing rules that writers say they live by in order to sound like they’re doing a ton of work every day, but in reality, most are lucky if they write a few days a week. Then, they throw a word count on top of it that makes it even more daunting. Like 1,000+ words a day is some easy task they can pull off in ten minutes. It’s not. In fact, writing 1,000+ words in a day can be exhausting. And it’s why I swore I would never be one of those people who even attempts it when I already know I’ll fail.
That being said, when my usual writing techniques failed me (repeatedly), I decided it was time to give this whole every day thing a go. BUT! I promised I wasn’t going to kill myself with 1,000+ words a day. Even 500+ words was too high for me to consider. So, I made my daily goal ridiculously low, with the caveat that four days a week I would shoot for my usual 1,000+ words. Otherwise, my goal is a measly 50+ words a day.
It might seem stupid, but I can knock 50+ words out in ten minutes before I get ready for bed. And I’ve actually averaged about 100 words a day. I’m still struggling with my 1,000+ words days, but even those are getting a little easier. People will say that I’m building a habit and that’s why it’s getting easier, but for me, that’s not exactly true. I’m very much achievement oriented, so when I fail to meet my goals, I get stressed and upset. Setting super easy goals helps me build my self-esteem back up, which motivates me to tackle harder goals. And so far, it seems to be working.
I suppose it’s important to try new techniques when old ones stop working. Hopefully, I’ll finally finish that draft this month. What about you? Do you have any projects that might benefit from setting super low goals? What do you do when your standard techniques stop working? As always, feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!