I’m taking a 6-week course called, Book In a Month. I’m not trying to write the entire first draft during the class. I’m shooting for about half a book in a month. Kinda ruins the title of the class, doesn’t it?
Your reaction might be, “Don’t you just write x number of words per day, and after x number of days, you’re done? Why do you need a class for that?”
Because I’m weak willed, that’s why! I need someone to hold me accountable to a word count or else I’ll make the lame excuses all writers make:
“I have writer’s block” or “I don’t have any inspiration or motivation today” or “I found a really good TV show!”
It would be hilarious if I pulled that crap with my boss.
“Ben, where’s the report? It’s due today.”
“I know you told me to write the report, but I didn’t get it done because I have writer’s block, I don’t have any inspiration, and I found a really good TV show!”
Is writing your novel less important than a work project? If your boss would be infuriated with a reply like that… are you mad if you don’t meet your deadline because you have writer’s block?
I’m definitely guilty of it.
We don’t need inspiration to write. We need deadlines and accountability.
I believe that vulnerability is powerful.
So I’m going to be open with you. The first week of class, I set my week-long goal to be 10,000 words. And when I wrote 3,500 words that week, I realized it was much more difficult than I thought.
Yes, my life outside of work has been pretty busy lately, and I can easily make excuses for why I missed my goal. Instead of making excuses, I realigned my goals to be more realistic given other obligations I have.
So I assigned myself 7,000 words for last week. So far, I’ve written about 4,000 words and it’s due tonight at 6pm.
This week I’ll change my goal to 5,000 words. Yes, there are a ton of writers who are way faster than me. But that’s fine. There’s a girl I follow on Twitter who said once she wrote 18,000 words in a day. While I am not striving to become that, I would like to write 1,500 words a day comfortably in the midst of a tight schedule.
I just need to find a consistent pace that’s still challenging and sustainable.
That was a lot of word-count numbers you just threw out. Calm down!
Not many other writers have been open with me about their struggles of the craft. That’s one of the things that sets this blog apart. Because you can find the top 10 tricks for any aspect of writing virtually anywhere on the web, but rarely can you find someone being open about what’s really difficult, and what they’re struggling with.
I hope you find it encouraging to hear that someone else also struggles to hit deadlines. At the same time I will never say, “Oh, you missed your deadline? Me too, let’s feel sorry for each other!”
I say, “Hey, you’re human. It happens to me too. Now pick yourself up and don’t accept missing deadlines and breaking promises to yourself as normal, kick some ass!”
I want to have my cake and eat it too.
Do you ever feel weird saying no to social outings? And when they ask you what you have going on, you feel like it’s insulting to tell them you’re writing your novel?
“I can’t hang out tonight, I have a deadline.”
“Oh, you’re working tonight? Your boss is demanding!”
“Well, it’s just a deadline I set up for myself… It’s the book I’m writing.”
Then there’s the second-too-long-pause. “Ohh, so you’re writing instead of hanging out with me? Friendship over.”
At least that’s how I imagine someone reacting if I say no so I can write, as if sticking to my deadline isn’t serious.
As if it’s okay to flake on your promises to appease others.
I’m reading this blog so you can kick my butt! I’m ready for the butt-kicking!
What’s your writing goal this week? (Mine is 5,000 words)
What distraction are you going to remove from your everyday life? (Mine is Netflix)
Who is going to keep you accountable? (My friend Avery. He doesn’t know that yet)
What are the consequences if you miss your deadline? (I pay Avery money and publicly declare on social media that I slacked off and missed my goal)
Tell me your answers in the comments below. I’d love to be part of your success this week!