First of all I need to make something clear, this post isn’t about the brilliant 2002 film. There are no references to pandemics – we’ve all had quite enough of that. There are no zombies here…
This is actually about creativity and productivity.
Yesterday marked the 28th day on which I’ve written consecutively. Whilst this might not be a big deal to everyone, it is huge for me. I’ve never been able to find the momentum. I’ve tried numerous approaches and none of them seemed to help.
A little over a month ago I stumbled across an article which talked of how you could approach writing a first book in a year. You can read the full thing here, but the basic idea is as follows…
You write every day for 365 days and you aim to write between 1 and 365 words each day. You tick each number off as you do and, if you stick to it, you’ll have 66,795 words by the end of the year.
So, I noted it. Told myself I would start in the new year. However, this was only an excuse. Procrastination to avoid trying. And that is my problem. If I tried then there was a good chance I’d fail.
I wasn’t aiming to write a novel. The goal, if I did try, was to motivate myself to simply write. Make it a habit. Also, I’ve always been a slow writer. It’s why NaNoWriMo, or targets of X no. of words a day have never worked for me. This approach of little and often seemed like it might suit me better.
On the 12th of October – I mustn’t have been feeling quite myself – I sat down and made myself a spreadsheet (more procrastination) and wrote some words. 337 of them in fact. I wrote the next day too. And the next… You get the idea.
That first week I was on holiday, and not having to go to work certainly helped give me an initial push. But, once I returned, I still tried to put down a few words each day.
There were days when I struggled. Days when I didn’t feel particularly creative. Days when I had no inspiration or motivation at all. Days when I thought everything I wrote was complete garbage. But I forced myself to write.
I use notes on my phone and Word online so I can access my stories wherever I am. I wrote on the bus, lounging on the settee. If I found myself lying awake in bed, doomscrolling (who doesn’t?), I would try and write a few words instead.
My lowest word count was 42. My highest has been 460 (I won’t stop at 365 if the words are flowing). I’ve averaged 226 words a day. It might not be a great deal, but the numbers add up…
I’ve written a little over 6,300 words in 28 days.
I don’t know if I will last the full year. I might not make it to Christmas. But in the past month I have accomplished something and I hope that will be enough to keep me motivated.
Enough to keep me writing.