Well, based upon my replies this week you’ve likely come to the conclusion that I’m a bit of an organizational freak (because you’ve all been so carefully following my replies, right?). But when I look around, frankly, I don’t have much to organize. When it comes to paraphernalia, I’m a bareback kind of gal. I have one laptop, one red pen, one spiral notebook, one cardboard box. That’s it. That’s my book right there. Research is thrown in the box, notes are made in the spiral with the pen, book is written on the laptop.
It’s my actual writing routine that’s a psychologist’s dream. I have a tough time just getting down to it. I have clear-cut goals. 2,000 words a day. That’s my goal. Another goal is less than seven games of four-deck spider solitaire. Another? Okay, how about no blog activity until 500 words are down? More? No phone calls until 1,000 words. Still curious? No checking Amazon stats until 750 words.
Oh, I’ve got the goals! I’ve got the numbers, the statistics, the punishments and rewards. And the thing is, none of them help my writing routine. What does help?
- Removing guilt from the equation: I’m doing the best I can. I set aside excess guilt from that little part of me that believes that I’m not doing “real” work, and from the sneaky suspicion that others don’t believe I’m doing “real” work, either.
- Becoming blind to dog fur on the floor: I have a 120 pound dog in south Florida (yankees, think about your dog’s shedding in summer all year round), there will ALWAYS be dog fur on the floor. There will always be laundry, There will always be a dish in the sink. I’ve lowered my standards and, surprisingly, we’ve managed to survive.
- Acknowledging that self-employment is full of pitfalls: I am my own boss. I am a niiice boss. I let my employee go to Starbucks for Chai tea lattes and seven layer bars. I want my employee to like me. But I also need my employee to respect me. And if I don’t demand a certain level of professional behavior, then I will foster an atmosphere of disrespect, and productivity and morale WILL decline. I must be a nice boss, but a stern boss. I also must pat my employee on the back once in a while.
So I’m back into a WIP. And I’m doing okay. I’m aiming for my 2,000 words a day, and I’m fighting my usuals. But it’s coming. And one thing I’ve noticed that I am adding to my routine is frequent periods of conscious gratefulness. Over the past several months I have come to realize what extraordinary people I’ve met over the course of this journey to publication.
There has never been any other period in my life in which I have had the good fortune to be involved with so many genuinely kind-hearted, intelligent people, and I am finding myself especially touched at the level of support being shown to me in these last six weeks to publication. This appreciation has worked itself into my writing routine, and I’ve come to look forward to it and being buoyed by it.
Whatever your routine, organized or messy, word count or page count, cut yourself a little slack, demand enough to challenge yourself, and remember the things you have to be grateful for.
And if you have any tips for that four-deck spider solitaire, let me know…