Last month I decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo on a whim. I didn’t really have a story in mind until the night before and I gave myself a smaller word count goal so I wouldn’t be as stressed as I am when I do November NaNo. As luck would have it, I managed to get myself into a great cabin for camp and we did word sprinting which really boosted my word count. By day 9 I had reached my word goal so I decided to up it to 50,000 words because I was doing so well. In the end I also surpassed the second goal by day 23. This time I didn’t change my word count goal and I think without that motivating me I just lapsed back into my usual procrastinating habits.
I started writing random “Life Goal” lists which happened to include pretty much all of the things that I’ve wanted to do, that I should have been doing instead of writing goal lists. These include writing, editing, exercising and reading. Every day since I reached word count I’ve been honing my lists, borrowing books to read, thinking of edits to change and rolling out my yoga mat and then rolling it back up.
Instead of following through with any of these activities I found myself watching yet another Simpsons repeat. Or sometimes staring vacantly at my laptop screen wondering what else I could look up on the internet. I know that most published writers whether traditional or self-pubbed need a certain amount of discipline that I just don’t seem to have. I write daily tasks for myself in my diary adding a little tick box that I continually move from day to day, week to week until months have gone before I even really think about completing the task. I’m not the kind of person who can set a goal and then force myself to complete it that day, which is really weird because I finished my word count goal so much earlier than planned.
I’m not sure what changed last month for me to be able to do that. Perhaps it was my cabin buddies. Maybe it was having some kind of accountability to real people and not just to myself. Maybe it was just a good writing time for me. Whatever it is, I am worried that now that July is over I’m going to lapse back into being a super procrastinator. What’s up all you published writers out there? Do you guys have a schedule you work to? Do you make yourself write despite feeling a bit bleh? Tell me your secrets so that I might also be a time champion and not a waster.