Progress on my second novel stalled out a bit over the summer (don’t forget, you can now pre-order my debut on Amazon). Of course schedules always get a little hectic with the kids off school, and we did take a big family vacation, but the thing that really threw me was doing edits on the first novel.
I had no idea there would be so many rounds of edits. What’s more, I never would have guessed I would find SO MANY things I wanted to change every time I read the damn thing. Every time. This publishing business is not for the faint of heart.
Getting Back To Writing
Anyway, I was having some trouble getting back into “real” writing. You know, like, actually telling a story, and not just obsessing over every little word I wrote years ago.
So I’m using a trick I learned a while back when I started using a bullet journal. In truth, I recently gave up on the bullet journal. As much as I loved it, I plan things pretty far out in advance, and I found that it’s easier to have an actual calendar with the dates already written in.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t carry over the things about it that worked for me, and the thing that worked best was this little trick for tracking writing goals.
Because Colored Pencils Are Fun
First, I calculate how many words a day I need to write to hit my writing goals. Personally, I want one day off a week, and I want to finish this section of my manuscript in a month. I’m aiming for 20,000 words, which puts me at about 840 words, six days a week.
(By the way, if you use Scrivener, it will totally do that calculation for you. Check out my post on how to set it up, like a boss.)
Then I use a piece of graph paper (pulled from the kids’ notebook – yeah fresh school supplies!) and make a little chart I can fill in as I work. I set mine up so that I can color in a box every time I write 50 words and I use a different color every day. There is something SO satisfying about coloring those little squares. It’s fun. It’s kind of like being back in kindergarten when I pick the color I want to use and spend a minute darkening in each little square.
Another benefit, since the kids are not back in school yet, and I’m really just struggling to get any writing done at all, is that even if I FEEL like I hardly got anything done at the end of the day, I can look at this page, with its boxes being steadily colored in, and know that ACTUALLY, I am making progress toward my goal of a finished draft before the end of the year. And that makes me feel pretty damn good.
How do you motivate yourself to get writing? Do you track your goals like me? Or are you more laid back about the whole thing? I’m always fascinated to hear how other writers work.