Jan 26, 2011

Baby steps


You know that saying "Go big or go home"? It annoys me. I understand why people say it, and sure, it has its moments when it probably motivates people - most likely athletes - but it's not always the right outlook. In my last post I listed my writing goals for 2011. When I came up with that list, I did a lot of soul searching: What do I want to accomplish this year with regard to writing? What is feasible for me to accomplish based on full-time work and family obligations (and not just obligations, but things I really enjoy and want to do with my family)? What are some things I can do to get outside my comfort zone?

Here's the thing - I didn't want to write these outrageous goals only to set myself up for failure. I needed to choose things that I thought I could accomplish, yet things that will help me stretch as a writer. For me, "going big" isn't really an option at this point in my life. That's not to say I'm not going to give 100 percent when I do write, just that I need to get some success under my belt. I need to start small and plug away.

My biggest struggle right now is finding time to write. The issue is that I need to MAKE time to write. But when? As much as I'm a morning person, writing first thing in the morning doesn't work for me. I'm constantly checking the clock to see when I need to hop in the shower, or seeing what time I need to wake Griffin up and prepare myself for our morning battle (he's a late sleeper). During NaNo I wrote everyday during my lunch break. The only problem is that I do enjoy having some social time with my coworkers. I already sit in my own office, isolated from everyone, so having lunch with friends is a nice treat for me. I do my best not to write when I'm with Griffin because he deserves my attention, which makes after work a bad time to write. You get the picture. I ended up writing during my "leftover" time. Not productive. I started thinking why I was able to win NaNo two years in a row. I cranked out almost 1700 words everyday for 30 days. That's when I realized that it wasn't about the amount of time I spent writing. I was focused on word count. So I've decided that if word count worked in November, it can work now. I've been toying with some word count goals, and I think trying to write 800 words per day Monday through Friday is very doable, and then writing 1000 words either Saturday or Sunday (or a combination of the two). That would be 5000 words per week. There's always room for flexibility, but I'm going to try this for a couple of weeks and see how it works.

Going big isn't the only way to win. Some people, like me, need to set smaller goals and chip away at them. Success feeds on itself and I'm much more likely to forge ahead. And let's not forget that other saying: "Slow and steady wins the race."

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