There is one major rule to writing that I have a hard time following. And not because I don’t agree with it. In fact, I think it’s the best rule in the handbook. In fact, I’d call it rule zero.
Write every day.
Yeah, I’m really bad with that one.
Which is probably true for most of us. As Greg has said to me, “We’re professional procrastinators” (and I’m still waiting on my check to arrive in the mail, dude. I’m owed several years of back pay).
So how can we fight against the desire to do literally anything else? Do help me in this I’ve been working on a simple list of active things I can do.
1. Cut the TV Watching.
That’s been a hard one. Netflix put up the entire 11 seasons of Cheers, and it’s just not going to watch itself! That said it’s been helpful to limit that time. Like anything, don’t cut it out entirely because you’ll just fall back into bad habits. Instead, limit it to an episode or two a night. But only after you’ve written some. Let it be your desert, your reward for a job well done.
2. Cut the Vidja Gamez!
I used to have a real hard time with this one. Especially with MMOs (Greg, I blame you for bringing EverQuest into our lives). The good news is that age and responsibility has really helped with this one. I can’t remember the last game I’ve finished a game. The Witcher 3 sits by my TV with maybe 10 hours played on it. Again, it can be treated a lot like watching TV. Use it as a reward.
3. Find a Writing Group
I can’t thank my little group of writing buddies enough. They keep me motivated like nothing else. Each Thursday night I meet with a small group and we do writing sprints together. These are 30 minutes of intense writing. After the sprint, you all say how much you’ve written. Maybe even tell them a bit of what it’s about. What this also does is gives you an opportunity to ask their opinion on places you may be stuck. It’s already helped me immensely on a novel I’m working on.
4. Get an Accountability Partner
I’m lucky to have a very supportive wife. A wife who doesn’t mind telling me I need to go write. Granted, I’m not always good at listening to her (like a good husband ought to do). Which also gives her the opportunity to let me know that I’m ignoring her. These are the sacrifices I make for a healthy relationship.
Kidding aside, it was a huge help during my first novel. She was always in my corner, opening up time for me to write and keeping me focused on the project.
I’ll probably always have difficulty getting past the procrastination hump. But with my little list, getting my butt in the chair, and my hands on the keyboard I should do all right.