I don’t know about you, but my writing can be affected by the seasons, or any other distraction for that matter. Perhaps a large part of it is that my other ‘work’ is as flexible as my writing routine. That can be seen as a dream for some and I know I’m very fortunate but like everything, it can also have its downsides. A couple of weeks ago it looked as if Autumn had really arrived, talk of bonfires and dark evenings. However, for the past few days, the days have been warm, almost Indian summer-like with cold nights that have required us to light the wood burner.
Here are four things that I find useful in keeping my writing on track, whatever the season (or distraction, usually animal related) that may be. And given that NaNoWriMo starts in a couple of weeks, I think these are going to come in handy!
I’ve always set goals, every year for as long as I can remember. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve never reached the end of that year having achieved them. I’m too ambitious, too full of hope that this year will be the one and therefore I set myself up to fail. Following the example set by another writer with the same dilemma, I’ve been setting monthly goals now for the better part of this year. And they work, for whatever reason I’m getting more done than I’ve ever done. Perhaps it’s more time relevant, more in the moment and I can actually see the progress rather than wishing on a star. It’s also helped by the second hack I’ve employed this year.
Focused Project Days
Again, for all my life I’ve considered myself to excel at multi-tasking. That was certainly true for my younger self as a single mum, having a full-time job and completing a degree all at the same time. Nowadays I’m not so good at balancing all those spinning plates. And what’s more, it didn’t work. Not for my writing anyway. Now I split the weekdays into daily focused projects where I concentrate on one thing at a time. It could be a short story I’m polishing for a competition or editing on one WiP or researching a new one. Occasionally I find myself dipping into something I shouldn’t be but a sharp rap on the knuckles does the trick.
Sweating the Small Stuff
Having said I focus on a daily project, I do spend half an hour at the beginning of the day just getting those small niggly things of my list. The things that may seem insignificant, like replying to an email or some housekeeping admin, watering the pots, tickling the kitties… whatever. If I tick them off my list that’s more headroom for writing. And that can be a good thing.
Daily Free Writing Sessions
For the past two months during the hot weather, I’ve set myself a target of daily, Monday to Friday, free writing sessions. The WA Monday Muse often forms one of these but I’ve also used them as preparations or the start of scenes in my current WiP and most definitely for the project the day. I’ve missed one or two days because of one thing or another. But it certainly has helped in me getting to The End.
What works for you?