Much to my disappointment, I let some drama at the day job mess with my head a bit in the last couple of weeks and my writing (as well as my overall attitude) has suffered for it. Things are mostly okay now, but it got me thinking. Did I use my moping around as an excuse to put off some of my other non-day-job-related responsibilities? Probably.
I know I missed a few schedule posts here, and also haven’t made any progress in my current WIP. But it’s time to stop making excuses and get back to work, right?
And that brings me to the topic at hand. If you’re serious about reaching your writing goals, then you have a decision to make. You have to decide if:
- You really are serious.
- You are just pretending.
You’re also going to have to decide what sacrifices you are willing to make to achieve your goal.
I’ll use the goal of becoming a professional writer as an example here, but regardless of what your goal is, you must strive to reach it every day–without exception. Stephen King says to set a minimum daily word count and do nothing else until you’ve reached that count. Michael Phelps trained six hours a day to become the best in the world. And I doubt that Tom Brady can tell you what happened on the latest episode of “Game of Thrones.”
Life is too short to mess around with this. If you continue to put off attempting to reach your goals due to lack of discipline, you will not reach them. Let me put it another way:
When you get to the end of your life, which would you rather say? “I wrote for two hours a day and published twelve novels,” or “I watched two hours of TV each day and published nothing.”
Ask anyone over the age of ninety and they’ll tell you that they regret the things they didn’t do more than the things they did.
How depressing is that?
So for aspiring writers, I want to restate the title of this post: Write every day. Make no exceptions. It doesn’t matter what you write, but you have to do it. Try setting a daily writing goal. Not necessarily the Stephen King word-count method because things will come up and if you don’t hit that for a day or two you’ll fall too far behind and feel down. But try everything. Sometimes “writing” for me will include a blog post, a Scribophile critique, a worldbuilding activity, outlining, or a short story submission.
What I do instead of a daily word count goal is to set a fixed goal or two and a time limit, based on my schedule for the day. For example, today the goal I set was to write this post and then work on revising a short story I’m getting ready to submit. I’m giving myself nineties minutes so I’ll get as much done on it as I can.
That’s just an example, however. Find what works for you and go for it.
And don’t delay because time is too short.