Know thyself

Hello all! I hope everyone is enjoying the last dregs of summer. This time of year is hard for me, productivity-wise. I think I have extra time, as family commitments decrease and the days are longer, but in reality, I love to sit and think about what to write, but don’t actually get around to doing much work.

If you have these same issues, here are a few things I have learned over the years to help decrease the sense of failure when you read that “some other successful author writes 2000 words per day.” It all revolves around self-awareness.

  1. Everyone’s seat in the boat is different- Sure, if writing was my only income, you bet your sweet pants that I would produce 2K words per day. Or more. And be on social media, and attend 6 conventions a year. But my day job is my income source, and as such deserves my time. I have to divide my time between my need tos – like my job- and my want tos- like writing, spending time with friends and family, etc. This is good- it gives me balance.
  2. Spending time in other pursuits is healthy. I think it is a false dichotomy to think that every minute you are not writing that you should feel guilty that you are not writing. Life is a pie chart, with the pieces of the pie different widths at different times of the year. I have more time in fall and winter to write than spring or summer due to work and family commitments, so I make plans for my writing life around those times of year.
  3. I know there are tons of people out there in Internet land, and on the convention circuit, that demand you put out 2 novels a year, or 4 novellas a year to be successful. Remember, these have to be GOOD QUALITY books to be successful. Lots of crappy, hastily crafted stories will not make you a career as a writer. If you are a slow writer, fine. The quality of the product is worth more than the quantity. Be at peace with your own writing process. Move forward at your own pace. Want to know what a person who runs 26.2 miles in 3 hours has in common with a person who runs 26.2 miles in 7 hours? They both are successful marathoners. They both ran 26.2 miles. Write at your own pace, and adjust your expectations accordingly.
  4. Have a plan, and stick to it. Keep deadlines. None of the “self-awareness” of the first 3 items in the list matter if you don’t translate that information into action. If you are a slow writer, then plan to take 8 months to finish your rough draft and start editing. And when your 8 month deadline rolls around, HAVE A FINISHED ROUGH DRAFT. NONE of this advice helps if you stop putting words on page.

I hope this helps, and as always, any of us here at Million Words are available for questions or to help.

Until next time-

Lillian

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