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.
Check out Michael’s book – and check out Liberty Hall Writers if you’re interested in joining the weekly flash challenges, and W1S1 if you’re interested in joining that as well!
Congrats on meeting your W1S1 goals! Don’t break the chain is a wonderful motivator – ‘It’s not what we do once in a while that counts, it’s what we do every day.’ I can’t remember who said that, but they’re obviously very smart!
I just read your story at DSF and absolutely loved it! In the Writing Guide in my head, there is now a chapter called ‘How To Do Killer Last Lines,’ and it just has a link to your story 🙂
Oh, thank you so much, Michelle!
I’d call those successful writing days too, Lee 🙂
Congrats also on putting an X through your June W1S1 goals!
Thanks! I’m feeling very inspired!
Writers are quirky beasts, aren’t we? Whatever works to keep our words flowing, our stories completed, our revisions done, and our submissions made, right? Well done on reaching your June Write1Sub1 goals!
I’m so enamored of W1S1 now – what a great motivator. I’m not using the “chain” idea for submitting – just W1S1. It has really helped.
Congrats on meeting your goals.
That is some great advice from Michael about defining a successful writing day and keeping track of it. Success isn’t just fresh words, it can be concluding the edits to a story (my favorite kind of successful writing day), subbing pieces, etc.
Good luck in your new approach.
Thanks – hope to keep it going and have a successful July!!
I’m up to four weeks in a row on the Liberty Hall flash challenge now. Quite a long way to get even close to the chain you have going there. Very nicely done, especially for such a time-based event!
I hope that you have a fantastic July and I’m really glad that you found some helpful tips in my book.
So glad you’ve joined the Liberty Hall challenges – I don’t always submit something I’m proud of, but at least I get something down, and so often it has bones that can be revised into a working piece. Hope you continue to enjoy the LH chain!
Congrats on meeting your W1S1 goals. I like the idea of the chain of X’s and the options for what a successful writing day is.