I read an advance copy of Michael Haynes’ “Write Every Day: Hints and Tips Toward a Writing Routine” and found it caught my interest. I’m SO not a routine person. But I’m definitely a “bad-habit” person and I think I’ve gotten into some bad habits around my writing. Reading, socializing, and tweaking finished stories are not getting me to my ultimate goals.
One of Michael’s suggestions is to create a visual marker, a big X on a blank calendar, for every successful writing day – then to tell yourself not to break the chain of x’s. I have been writing a flash story at Liberty Hall every weekend since August of 2010, and it is amazing how motivating the idea of not breaking my chain of stories has been – without even using the term chain, I’ve been using the idea.
So, today, July 1 I took out a blank calendar sheet and marked a BIG X for my great day – I wrote another flash story today.
Michael’s other big suggestion is to define a successful writing day in a way that makes it more likely you’ll succeed. He suggests choices. So my five choices that I will consider equal a successful writing day are
- Write 500 words of new fiction (yay, today!)
- Write 500 words of blog post (s) (I figure writing some ahead of time would be useful, 500 word posts are a bit long for me)
- Write 500 words of critique (s)
- Revise (major – not my typical tweak, retweak) one of those flash stories I’ve been piling up
- 2 hours of steady organizing of my fiction, submission records and other data concerning my writing. This will be a good goal for days when I just can’t manage to write.
So I’ve got my first X for my new chain. I’m also participating in W1S1 (Write 1, Sub 1 as Ray Bradbury once advised) still, and have not broken that chain since I started – it has significantly helped my submission rates, although not acceptance rates yet, lol.