Throughout my life there have been times were I would write every day for hours, but usually those periods of inspiration were separated by weeks—even months—of not writing a single word. Little voices in my head told me I would have time to finish the book later, that eventually inspiration would hit and the book would write itself. Surprisingly, this never happened.
Until recently, my “writing career” has consisted of unfinished projects and ideas that never seem to make the transition from my brain to paper. It was always been just a fun pastime, something I really didn’t take very seriously. Of course, I’ve always dreamed of seeing my books on bookshelves, even thought about becoming rich and famous, something always held me back. I’m not exactly sure what that was either. Maybe it was the dread of submitting the completed manuscript to a publisher or worse: that people would hate my work. (I know on some level that fear is still there.)
But you know what I discovered? If I don’t ever finish a book, no one will ever have the opportunity to hate it and more importantly; love it. About the same time this light bulb went off a second blinked on right beside it: books don’t write themselves. They take work, and finally for the first time in my life I made the decision to take that work seriously.
My first hurdle was not having a deadline. Anyone that knows me can tell you, I’m quite possibly the biggest procrastinator in the entire world. Hell, I put off vacuuming until 5 minutes before my wife gets home when I’ve had all day to do it. Not having a deadline was killing my writing. I could put off working on a project indefinitely because it wasn’t due…ever.
So, I stated this blog and decided that no matter what I would have something posted every week. I planned several post for this blog, as well as posts that I will write for my reviews page, and gave myself deadlines for everything. Looking at my “work” calendar can be slightly overwhelming sometimes, but having something due every week reminds me that I need to sit down and write.
At first, I told myself I needed 500 words EVERYDAY but after the first week, I realized writing seven days a week wasn’t the best idea either. I didn’t want to burn myself out. There is a reason the workweek isn’t 7 days, body and mind require rest to work properly. So I decided to give myself a break during my writing week as well. I set aside two days during the week that I’m not required to work, even though I probably will.
Having reasonable and attainable goals will keep you motivated and make you WANT to reach the next one. Sometimes it feels like it takes forever to reach that 500th word, but other days I surpass it and keep right on typing. Even Stephen King can’t write a novel in a day but he can (and does) punch out a few hundred words each day.
Set yourself a goal: a page a day, 500 words a day it doesn’t matter. But whatever it is, stick to it no matter what. So, finish reading this silly blog, pull up your project and start typing. They don’t have to be good words; they just have to be words.
Because if you don’t take your writing seriously no one else will.
Now go write.