I’m just going to say it right off the bat, creating habits is hard! There are so many
forces engrained habits working against you, that it’s a process. OK, now that I’ve begun this by making excuses for myself, here’s the good news: I doubled my May writing days in June. OK, now that we’ve got the silver lining, here’s the cloud, it’s only five days out of the 30 available to me in June. As I said, it’s a process.
OK, so here’s the recap, about a year ago my friend Tiffany and I challenged ourselves to write for 90 days straight and termed it #Write90. It did not turn out so well, but it did make me very aware that in order to reach my goal of being a published author, I need to write as much as possible. To do so: I need to create the habit. So, I rebooted this into an all-around effort to write more, which I refer to as #Write30 (yes, I’m aware some months have 31 days, but you get the drift) and hold myself accountable by recapping the days in which I wrote and number of words each month in a recap post for you.
OK, so, without further ado:
June’s #Write30 analysis
- Days: 5
- Words: 2,116
So, what can I — and will I — do in the future to prioritize my goal and my passion?
- Find a flexible plan
- Let go of the failures
- Attempt to bottle the magic
Find a flexible plan
As you may have seen, one of the books I read in June was Lauren Graham’s Talking as Fast as I Can. The chapter in this book called Kitchen Timer, Graham reveals a technique that she got from screenwriter Don Roos. Here are the basic points of this plan that I took away:
- Block out an hour each day to write. It doesn’t have to be the same hour each day. Plan the hour you are going to write the day before.
- Set a timer for this and only have to items open on your computer: one document of the project you are working on and one document of a writing journal. The time is yours to write in either of these two documents for that hour.
- No matter what you have written in that hour, you accomplished something simply by sitting down and writing, even if it was just in your journal, for an hour.
- If for some reason, you didn’t write, let it go and start fresh the next day.
We are a far few days into July and I can tell you this plan is working very well for me! First, it’s new and shiny and exciting thing to try, so why wouldn’t it be working? Second, it avoids some of the pitfalls I believe I fell in to in June. For example, I participated in a wedding in the middle of the month with a few days of festivities and my schedule on autopilot. I lost momentum for writing in those days and didn’t pick it up again after. Third, as I’ve been working through these few days, I have found that my mind tends to wander at the beginning of writing sessions. During this time, I write down those thoughts that pop into my head, such as check if my insurance company covers chiropractic visits, into my writing journal and I can then act on later but won’t interrupt the overall flow of my hour. (In case you were wondering, it does. Can’t wait to get adjusted!)
Let go of the failures
If you follow me on Instagram (which you should) you will have noticed that I’m a bit of a yogi. One of the main tenants of yoga is to let things go. If I languished in bed on Monday, knowing my scheduled hour of writing for that day is from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and I did not have time in the afternoon to make it up, the reality is, that moment has passed, there’s nothing I can do about it. As I often say to others who are beating themselves up over something “Do better next time.” Under this plan, I can simply let it go, set down my hour for the next day and move on.
Attempt to bottle the magic
I cannot express to you how amazing it feels to end my day knowing that I have worked toward my dream. It’s a truly amazing, one-of-a-kind feeling that I enjoy tremendously. Similarly to how I (attempt to) challenge my brain when I’m trying to make excuses not to work out on a given day by remembering that flexible, fun, fabulous feeling I will have after the workout, I need to bottle up that feeling and use it as ammunition to sit down at my desk, to get out of bed, to forget about the dishes (OK, that last one’s just too easy, but you get the picture) and just do it.
Don’t be discouraged
I have written multiple posts now on the techniques I’m working through in an attempt to pursue my dream. Some of them have failed, some of them are a work in progress, some of them are a success, but no matter what I’m still putting in the time and going after my goal. And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing!