Monday, December 6, 2010

Frankie Says Relax

I've mentioned Graham Greene before, and I likely will again, but I particularly like him as an example because of how little he wrote per day and how much he produced over his career. There are writers out there that get down on themselves if they let a day go by without committing something to paper. We've all been there at some point or another. The key is to set realistic expectations for yourself in the time marked as your own. Don't focus on what you want to accomplish; focus on what you CAN accomplish reasonably within the time allowed to write per day.

Right now, I'm working on three novel-length WIPs at once. I won't go into too much detail, because that's what my personal blog is for, but the other night I decided to pull the reins on what has been my standard plan of attack whenever I feel ambitious enough to work on more than one thing at a time. Mind you, this has never worked for me; it might fly for a few days, even a couple weeks, but I end up getting discouraged over how much time it takes me to complete a chapter. Chapters were my old goal. One chapter per one WIP, and then shifting attention to another. You would think that after having failed repeatedly in the past, I would have reevaluated this plan for its flaws and amended it to something that better suits me. It's no wonder the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Therefore, I have decided to focus on the word count rather than the chapter. The rest will come to me.

This plan might fail as well, but the key is to find something that works for you and your schedule. I have a full-time day-job, not to mention a part-time job. I also have a husband who occasionally likes getting attention, and while I don't have kids yet, there are plenty authors who do, and therefore have their writing time further encroached upon by the beast that is real life. Setting the bar too high regarding writing goals can lead to discouragement and depression, and that's something I definitely seek to avoid. By restructuring the way I look at my various projects and the time I have to dedicate to them, I can at least go to sleep knowing I've accomplished what I set out to accomplish within the reasonable limits I set for myself.

The point is this: don't set out to do more than you can. Set realistic expectations for the writing you produce. Even a couple hundred words a day is better than nothing, and if that's all you can manage in your hectic schedule, getting that much done should be your goal. Anything else is just icing on the cake.


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