Somedays, writing is just harder than others. Last week was one of those weeks.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it was on my mind today, so I thought it just might help some of my newer readers.
I hadn’t been sleeping well and the work week was long and hard. By the end of each night, I was so exhausted that even taking a breath seems like it took too much energy.
On top of that, I wasn’t feeling well. I’ve been fighting off a summer cold that is threatening to turn into something worse.
Needless to say, coming home and sitting down to write after a long day, wasn’t easy.
There was a time just a couple years ago that this would have kept me from coming home and writing.
That was then.
I have discovered the secret of pushing through those times.
That secret is a writing schedule.
I only have about two hours of free time on an average workday, but I have other relationships that need to be nurtured and other responsibilities that go with them. Yep… I even need to do the dishes.
Schedules are a necessary part of any serious writer’s life. Just ask any editor who wants a book done on a deadline.
Don’t let the fact that you don’t have a book deal yet discourage you from setting those writing goals. If you do, you just might not ever get that book written. There needs to be a goal.
The goal itself is completely up to you and your lifestyle. What works for me may not work for anyone else. You have to make it personal. All our other goals and responsibilities need to be taken into consideration too, so don’t set them too high.
I use to have a word count goal. The last few months, however, I changed it to a chapter goal. After some feedback from an agent, I found I needed to rework my last novel. While this may come with the territory, reworking a story can feel as painful as major surgery to an author. But it’s something that happens with many manuscripts for even some of the most accomplished writers. Setting a goal of a chapter a week gives me a little more flexibility to write harder on my days off but allows me the ability to skip workdays that get overwhelmed with other things.
I also adjust my week. I start my “writing week” on Monday. Since it’s my days off are Sunday and Monday, I can spend more time writing on that day. The last day of my “writing week” is now Saturday. Even though it’s a work day for me, I can spend an extra hour writing that night, if needed. I can stay up late if I need the extra time to finish my chapter. I often do. My goal is somewhat flexible, but it’s also set in stone. If I’m not done on Saturday night, I don’t go to bed until I am.
Sunday is my day off and I don’t normally plan to write on that day. However, if I have a pressing deadline or if I just have the “itch” to write, you may find me at the keyboard anyway.
Do you realize that if all we write is 165 words a day, we’ll have 60,000 in one year? 300 a day and we’ll have that book completed in six months and those next six can be used to edit and rewrite.
Life is challenging. But we can do it, writers! Don’t let others tell you what you need to do or how it needs to be done. Set those goals. Make a list of what you need to get done and find those times you can devote completely to your writing.
Don’t treat your writing as though it’s different from any other job. Writing IS a job and needs to be treated with the same respect as any other job. We can’t expect those around us to take our writing seriously if we don’t ourselves.