I have been trying to keep a decent writing schedule on this blog since I started it.
If you knew me in meat space you would now begin your cackling and rolling on the ground. However the one thing that all my current habits have in common is this:
Cleaning the cat box? If I don’t, my cat will poop everywhere.
Keeping my dishes done? If I don’t, the roaches will come find me.
Turning in drafts? Deadlines.
Daily word count? My friends and I have a monthly pool going. Whoever has the most words at the end of the month wins.
It really is that easy for me. One of the reasons I think I have never managed to keep a good work out schedule stems from the fact that I dislike working out with people. (If I’m sweating away my delicious calories that I worked hard to collect, I’m not feeling chatty or happy. It makes me unpleasant.) Any other project or task that I’ve procrastinated on all moves back to accountability.
Stories require accountability too. I have so many half-started fiction bits rolling around in my word processor files that one of these days they are going to fit themselves together like Frankenstein’s monster and come eat me in my sleep. How can you get that sort of external check system?
Well, consequences for one. If you DON’T do the daily writing, then you WON’T finish it which is a shame. You won’t be able to show anyone, or at least if you’re like anyone I know, you won’t WANT to show the half-finished bit to anyone. Two, if you have a friend, that helps.
Friends who write aren’t always easy to acquire. I have some writer friends who are fabulous to hang out with but have such different writing processes than myself that accountability with them isn’t as helpful. It takes time and patience but once you have found them, put a ring on it. (Figuratively…unless they are also partner-in-life material then good for you.) If you can find a buddy or at least someone you know to ask about your status on a daily/weekly basis, that can help.
I won’t pretend that I know all the answers. I often feel like I am fumbling forward in the dark, fingers outstretched to find a way through to the other side. That imaginary other side resembles a podium at some awards ceremony where I am being told what a steller author I am.
Done laughing? I am too.
In the end, focus on the stories. Focus on the words and remember: Each keystroke is one step closer to that completed project. The story of 1000 words n’ all that jazz.