Here it is – my first post-conference post. After spending the past few days thinking about what the first post should be about, I finally narrowed it down to the most important element (for me):
Maybe you’re a naturally disciplined person. Perhaps you’re one of those lucky ones who can set your goals and just DO them. You probably have a clean house. I suppose your bed is made. I bet you’ve never lost a pair of shoes in your own bedroom (they disappeared two years ago…I miss them). You write a weekly menu, have a designated day for laundry, and eat five servings of vegetables every day.
I don’t like you.
I used to be organized. I used to be able to plan my days. I worked full-time and maintained a social life. My house was ordered and neat. I liked it.
Then I got married.
I never had a brother. I’ve never had to think about anyone but myself. I only ever worried about my messes and my junk. (And I STILL haven’t figured out how the addition of one other person adds three times the amount of housework). I now find myself preoccupied with the house and drowning in dishes. I can find an excuse anywhere, and that’s my problem.
By the end of the day I often find myself looking back over the hours and wondering what happened. Why didn’t I write anything? Why is the house dirty? Why didn’t I go jogging?
Have you been there? I feel like I’m always there (I started this post over an hour ago. I keep getting distracted. At least I’m finishing it!)
I know that I went to the conference to learn more about fiction, and to speak with agents and editors, and to network and meeting more writers…but that’s not what’s stuck in my head.
I can’t get away from it. I suppose that’s because every writer there started by being disciplined. They set writing hours for themselves. They turn off their phones. They do whatever is necessary to get the job done! And I need that, desperately.
So this is where I’m going to start: 500 words a day, five days a week for the rest of June and all of July. I’ve already decided to take these months and devote them to studying novel writing (and setting my manuscripts aside). I don’t want to stop writing entirely, however, so I will still write at least 2500 words a week.
I’m also going to try to get those written before noon. I do my best work in the morning, when I’m fresh, and need to get into that habit. It IS hard in my tiny, packed house, but I have to start someplace. I think I’m going to have to set up a reward system too, but I haven’t gotten that far yet.
With those two goals I’m also giving myself deadlines – a point that Mary DeMuth stressed as vital to her growing process.
So that’s today’s lesson from the WTP conference. I’ll post another one this weekend.
Until then…what’s something that you can do to help discipline yourself? Do you have daily/weekly/monthly goals? Do you earn rewards for accomplishing those? And how do you help encourage someone else with her goal setting/discipline?