Why didn’t I do this before?

Written By: Jess - Mar• 24•14

Ick. I hate schedules. I, like a lot of other people, suck at sticking to them. I’m also ADD and any sort of organization or plan that I approach becomes an uphill battle. I’m not good at keeping things straight or sticking to something. Developing a routine is a pain in the butt.

But in January I decided to try something new. I’m not a new years resolution person, but something similar happened around that time. I was getting really frustrated that my MS was STILL in the first act. I’d been working on it for at least a year (or more) and I thought sitting down and writing 500 words was pretty dang good – and it would have been if I’d actually written at least 500 words everyday. Sadly, I probably wrote less than 1,500 in a week. At the rate I was going I’d finish my book in about … oh…. five freakin’ years. For the past six months my plate had been so full that 500 words a week was amazing. For some people this would be ok, but for me it wasn’t.

After the frustration of seeing my story getting essentially shelved I realized my priorities needed another look. My writing needed to come first instead of last. I dropped some commitments and stopped reading as soon as I got home. Instead, I packed up my laptop and went to Harmons. Yes. It’s a grocery store, but it’s a totally awesome one! The Harmon’s near our home has a cafe Ibis down stairs and a lounge area upstairs. They also have free WiFi and cheap gelato/herbal tea. I was sold. My only other options were McDonald’s (where chicken nuggets and a large french fry called my name)  and the library (which is about 10 minutes away while Harmons is more like 3).

Once I found a place where I wouldn’t get distracted (writing at home is a terrible, terrible place for me. My ADD wants me to pace and books stare at me from their resting places around the apartment) I realized that I could hit my 500 word count goal fairly easy. Soon I bumped my word goal to 1,200. Some writers will write based on time, I’m one of the ones who chases a number. Often times I overshoot it with the average word count being 1,400.

But do you know what shocks me the most? It’s been three months and I’ve stuck to it!

Maybe not perfectly, but I’ve got a schedule down that lets me get out a minimum of 4k a week. I’m happy. I’ve even put up a dry erase board to help keep track of what I’ve been doing:

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“The Progress Board”

I write what I work on daily, weekly, and monthly. What’s funny is I get competitive against myself and I try to beat the previous week/month.

Do you have a schedule or system down? What works for you? I’m always looking for other ideas. 🙂

 

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