The holiday crush is beginning (or might be in full force for some). Some ideas to keep you on track with writing goals through the crazy season:
1. Get your pages in early. Do it before you check email. Before you watch the morning news. Before anything, if you can. Try it for a week, and you’ll be amazed, I promise.
2. Limit email and Internet access. I’ve been reading The Four Hour Work Week, and he’s narrowed email to Monday mornings. Since a good portion of my email is social outlet and relaxing, this wouldn’t be realistic or even appealing to me, but I am making changes. For quite some time, I’ve made myself do my pages before I let the world in, as Ray Bradbury says. No email at all until I’m finished for the morning. I notice when I travel that brief checks of email every few days is enough to keep up. That’s illuminating because I check a LOT more than that at home. Like four or five times a day. It’s easy, right? Why not?
Because I’m using it to waste a lot of time. I’m sure you have more discipline than I do, so you don’t need to cut back, but I’m thowing it out there for what it’s worth. I’m checking only twice a day for one week, to see how it feels. What I notice: I check and READ a lot, but responding takes a lot of time, so I end up only reading, filing emails into various files to be answered, then feeling guilty about how much I’m neglecting my correspondence, even with people I genuinely like and want to talk to.
I’d like to get back to email-as-tool, rather than email-as-time-sucking-monster.
3. Set goals and reward yourself for meeting them. Whether the goal is one page or ten pages per day, when you actually meet that goal each day, REWARD yourself. Set aside some half-hour episodes of television you like to watch and use those. Give yourself some time to read entirely for pleasure. Have a truffle or a glass of wine. (If you can keep it to one or two–otherwise, then you’re on another goals-reward loop, right? )
4. One of my favorite tools: erasable whiteboards and calendars to mark your progress. I use markers in many colors, as I’ve posted before, and recently, I found I love the reward jolt in seeing rows of post its in bright colors and shapes, like orange stars and neon green circles.
I had to start over on my hundred days, by the way, since I let outside events get in the way of writing 1000 words per day, every day (as per Carolyn See).
Which is also a good lesson. If at first you don’t succeed, try 100 more times.
Anyone else have a good writing tip for this very busy time?