I haven’t finished typing up everything I wrote for the months of July and August 2016, but as I said before, I didn’t hit 100K words. I still estimate that it will be closer to 10 – 11K in words. This is a huge feat when you consider I had barely 1, 000 words this year. Once I finish typing it all up, I’ll give the final results (hopefully this week). So what happened that kicked my productivity into overtime? Here are a few things:
Change of Routine
July chugged along and I didn’t have much success, so in August I threw the game plan out the window and radically changed my routine. Up until that time, I had been an evening writer. My routine was to wake up, have a breakfast, work (I work from home full-time now.), workout, shower, dinner, and then finally write. You know what? By the time I got my workout in, showered, and ate, the last thing I felt like doing was writing. I just wanted to turn my brain off and watch TV or surf the net.
I had tried working out in the morning, but I couldn’t do it. I’m an early riser, but I liked working out at the end of my day after sitting in front of my computer. I was used to writing in the evening, because that’s what I did when I went to an office. But once I started working from home, I had no evening commute. So I got lazy and pushed the time further and further back until I was writing at the same time some TV show was on that I didn’t want to miss. (Side note: I don’t have cable so no DVR.)
So I told myself starting in August I was going to write first thing in the morning. I woke up and before I got dressed, looked at the news, or ate any food, I would write. And it worked. The pages started to pile up. Chapters got finished. I no longer felt worn out or tired when I wrote. I also didn’t feel guilty about staring at the TV, or going out at night. Before I would beat myself up for not writing, but now I could say – I got some writing in this morning. I’m good.
Not everyday was perfect. I missed 6 days in August. But today is the 22nd day in a row I have written some fiction. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t want to break the streak. That can be addictive. I would say to myself You’ve made it 10 days, why not go for 11? And I would pick up my notebook and get a few words down, happy as a clam that the streak was still alive. Some days I still had to write at night, but mostly these were morning writing words. They were the first things done before the rest of the world got moving.
I have accepted at this point in my writing life, I am not a fast writer. I don’t get 1,000 words written a day. I get closer to 200-300 words done. While I admire those that can churn out fast copy, it’s not me. Frankly, I’d rather be slow, but consistent. The words do add up. Maybe one day I will build up my speed, but right now, I just want to be consistent again. Once in a while, I will do a marathon day, but that will burn me out. Yesterday was Labor Day in the US, and a holiday for most. I spent about 5 hours or so finishing a story. I happy it’s done, but I don’t want to do that everyday.
I’m going to stick with this routine until it doesn’t work anymore. That’s the most valuable thing I learned. When your routine doesn’t serve your needs, it’s time to change it. You might have great success.
Also I want to make a note that it is time for my annual challenge to myself called Short Story September. I started in 2014 writing a new short story every week. Last year (2015) I tried writing a story everyday, with not so great results. So I’m back to a new story every week. I’ve already started the story for this week and hope to be done by Saturday. I’m also writing a novel, so I may switch things up and work on that this month too. Either way I want 4 new short stories and/or 4 new chapters.
Submissions are also chugging along. I’m at 55 rejections, and I have four currently out for consideration. Hope to have a few more by the end of the month.
Thanks everyone for reading. Happy Writing!