March 7, 2013 by KWills
So, the Friday report idea crashed on take-off. I must admit, I wasn’t surprised. I don’t do so well with self-motivation, which is a big problem for someone who wants to be a professional writer. I have tried brute-forcing the issue, telling myself I “must” do things. I tried getting cross with myself, bribing myself, even tricking myself. All to no avail. It was like trying to get over a wall by standing on my own shoulders.
I found that I had better success when reaching for a public goal, so I thought I would start this blog. Only, I believed that no-one would read it, and that I was still, essentially, talking to myself. Challenges like NaNoWriMo and FAWM helped, but I needed a way to harness that challenge energy for my own goals.
Then I found RoW80: A Round of Words in 80 Days. I discovered that I wasn’t the only person on the planet who was bad at sticking to goals. Who’d thunk? Someone else with my problems had thought of a way to get over that wall: get other people to help. Rather than waiting for a big challenge to come round, Kait Nolan encouraged us to challenge ourselves, and each other. And it worked!
I participated in the first round, way back in 2011. Then life ambushed and kidnapped me, as it so often does. By the time I got free, I was months behind. I let despair rule for a while, then NaNoWriMo 2012 happened. I signed up, listless and hopeless, thinking that perhaps the challenge would motivate me to write another 10k or so. And then, I won NaNo! With a week to spare! The thrill was as heady as it was unexpected. I could do it! The winner’s certificate hangs on my wall beside my computer, proof that it is possible.
Then, I slumped again. Again! I felt like a yo-yo, pinging backwards and forwards between elation and frustration. Months went by without a word being written, or a scene edited. Despair was back. Goodbye writing life.
So, I started to go through my bookmarks, getting rid of the stuff I didn’t need any more, because I was never going to make it as a writer. One of those bookmarks was for RoW80, a challenge I had almost forgotten existed. I hesitated over the delete button. Maybe, just maybe, this was the answer. I opened the link, and re-read the terms of the challenge. A new round was starting in April. Enough time to pull myself together, but not too far ahead. I spotted my chance: my way back into writing. The yo-yo reached the end of the string and hung there, spinning the decision over. I opened my neglected blog and started to climb back up.
Round 2 Goals
First off, my week has 6 days. Life can’t be planned in every detail, so every week has room for one “off” day. That said, here are my goals:
- Keep the words coming: Write 1,500 words a day. (Average. 9,000 words a week.)
- Write every day, even on the off days. Even if it’s just 100 words, write something.
- Time well spent: Spend six hours a week on outlining and/or editing.
- Get involved in the online writing community: Review two items every week.
- Stay in touch with reality: Write one letter or e-mail every week to friends and family.
- Starting in May: send out one query letter every week. Because, by then, I’ll have something to pitch.
Check-in posts are Wednesdays and Sundays, so expect to see a lot more action around this blog.