writing

You Can Control How Prolific You Are

I jotted down several goals for myself to accomplish during Edgar’s naptime today, but also I am so tired and sort of want to lay on the couch and watch Donald Glover on Netflix.

I may do that, eventually. But for now, I am attempting to tackle Goal # 2: Figure out how to have a productive and prolific writing routine.

LOL. Best case scenario, nap time is three and a half hours long. I don’t realistically think that is enough time to accomplish this task. In fact, from what I hear from other writers, this might be a lifelong goal of mine, and not something I’m going to solve in the next few minutes.

That being said – here’s my current writing situation:

-I have limited time to write. Most of the time, I am either working at my day job or parenting a toddler. So my writing time is limited to two hours every evening, and an extra six hours (ish) over the weekend during nap times. So, the max amount of time I’d ever have to write would be 20 hours a week.

-I do other things besides writing. Including bathing myself, running, reading, cleaning my house, going to recovery meetings, and talking to my wife. So I actually have way less than 20 hours per week to write.

-I don’t know how to decide how much time to devote to writing. I also don’t know how much time to devote to all the other things. How much is enough?

-I have two big goals for this year – to continue posting twice a week on my blog, and to finish a draft of my novel. I don’t know how to make sure that I am devoting enough time to each.

-I don’t want writing to be on the backburner. However – sometimes writing is the easiest thing to just plug in ‘wherever.’ I can do it at any time of day – I don’t need to rely on anyone else’s schedule – so all I really need is for Edgar to be either occupied (ha, rare) or asleep. But – writing is SO IMPORTANT to me. I don’t just want to be plugging it in whenever there’s an empty spot that’s not already filled with running or meetings. I want to be intentional about it – I want to give my writing the best of me.

-Crafting blog posts provides it’s own challenges, because it’s SO easy to get distracted, and not even by the internet or by non-writing activities. I have trouble focusing on just one post at a time. I sometimes have four or five Chrome windows open, each with a different drafted blog post, and when I get stuck or bored working on one, I move to another. Same when I get a bolt of inspiration about one – I just run over to that draft and start typing.

So – what do I do?

-Nap time is a good time for me, provided that I don’t need a nap myself. It’s not too late in the day – I can usually get a good chunk of writing done.

-I’ve been using my bullet journal to outline what I’m doing each day and each week, and if I’m setting aside time for writing, I usually specify what exactly I’ll be working on that day. Right now, it’s usually either the novel or upcoming blog posts. There are a few other projects on the backburner, but the novel and the blog are more than enough for the moment.

-Now that I’m not going to the gym at 4:30 a.m. (yay summer!), I’m thinking about getting up early to get some good writing time. The mornings are generally my most productive time of day. Maybe I’ll give that a try tomorrow and see how it goes!

That’s all I’ve got:

  1. Plan time to write every single day (and extra times if you need to skip a day because of travel or visitors).
  2. Be intentional about what I’m going to write when.
  3. Use your mornings – bonus writing (or running) time!
  4. Use other tools – voice memos, podcasts – to keep yourself in the writing mindset as much as possible.

I like this list of strategies. We’ll see how it works!

I’ve had a mantra in my head lately. It’s long, but I think it’s valuable.

You can’t control how well-received your work will be. You might not even be able to control how good it is. But you can control how prolific you are!

There are writers out there who write a book every year. Now, they might be writing full-time – and I’m not saying it’s an easy thing to do – but if they can do that, why can’t I?  There are probably a million reasons why I can’t, but I’m not going to entertain any of them. Because the one thing I can control is how much I write – HOW PROLIFIC I AM.

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