Quote of the day from Mahtab Narsimhan: “I set a reward before I start writing and will allow myself that reward only if I finish the quota for the day. Normally that entails surfing the Net or writing a nice long e-mail to a friend; stuff that usually makes me feel extremely guilty if I have written nothing on any given day! I’m very strict with myself. No quota=no reward. On the other hand, when I finish the word count for the day and go a little over, that itself is a huge reward. I’m then compelled to do it all over again the next day, just to feel that same sense of relief and accomplishment.” End quote.
I like this philosophy. The thing about philosophies—you have to find one that works for you. For instance, I would have to tweak Mahtab’s philosophy, because she writes from 6:30 to 8:30 AM. I’m not a morning person. I would still be asleep at 8:30 if my son didn’t drag me out of bed at 7:30. My brain barely functions before noon.
Step 1: Find a philosophy and make it my own.
Writing is important to me, but it’s not my life. On my list of priorities, familiy comes before writing. That is why I like to write at night—when my family is asleep. Writing is my reward for taking care of my famiy during the day.
Step 2: Rank my list of priorities.
Anyone who reads this blog knows I am a Type A personality; my hobbies include organizing and scheduling. I get a thrill from making t0-do lists. Okay, now I’m exaggerating (not really). But I do think I thrive under a schedule, preferably one with built-in goals and rewards. The trick is not being too hard on myself when I fall short of my goals.
Step 3: Decide on short-term and long-term goals.
So these are my three steps. Feel free to use them or adapt them for your own needs.
Ideally, I could dive into writing right away. But you know I wouldn’t make it that easy for myself! Next week is Thanksgiving, and then we’ll start THE HOLIDAYS. Enter family gatherings, friendly get-togethers, shopping, gift-giving, card-mailing, decorating, school breaks, traveling, cooking, eating, and much more. I know none of these things should be the real focus of the season, but my family is still a priority over writing. Thus, the following schedule:
December: reading /preparing for 2nd draft of TRE.
January to March: 2nd draft of TRE.
April to May: 3rd draft (maybe more, based on feedback).
Dear website readers, I have not forgotten you. But since I throw myself into projects, this time I’m dragging you with me.
Some of you remember “Summer’s Ultimate Novel” (SUN), in which I discussed first drafts. So what’s the logical sequel? You got it—a discussion of second drafts. I’ll introduce this second-draft project on Saturday. And in April, a project on third drafts. Very predictable of me, right?
Would anyone like to share a personal writing schedule or list of writing goals? Let’s motivate each other, shall we?