So, 150 words a day. Not hard really. I deliberately set the bar low. Who can’t find time to punch out 150 words a day? Teenage girls punch that out in a single ‘OMG’ text message.
Sure, we’ve just had a new baby, and sure the landscaping around our house looks like Beirut, and whenever I spend time outside working on our yard, I seem to prove the second law of thermodynamics.
No, seriously. There is more grass growing in the places we are planning to concrete than in the areas where we want to sow grass. The only thing growing in the veggie patch is self-sown garlic, and the pile of building materiel that I’ve harvested from from elsewhere. I’m pretty good pulling stuff down. Give me a sledge hammer, a crow bar and a high-lift jack and I can pull anything down. And collect the waste materiel for future use! Oh glorious future, where my accumulated building resources are place to good use!
Anyway. How did my plan to write 150 words a day go?
Well, not so good as it turns out. You see, some days I wrote none. Thats fine, other days I’d write more. Some days I’d easily crank out 300. A couple of days I sat down for a good consolidated period and did 800 in forty minutes. At the rate I was going, I was actually exceeding what I’d write at 150 words a day. But I was an ‘opportunity’ writer. I’d find some time between other activities to ‘slip’ some writing in.
And then feel guilty. I should be doing other things. There was more entropy to be created in the yard. (Is that an oxymoron? Can entropy be created?). Other things, like help change a nappy, or just spend time with my wife, kids, newborn. So, I’d wait until there was a ‘space’ in the schedule where I didn’t feel guilty…a rainy day, or a moment when everyone else had gone to bed early.
Slip in 300 words here. Wait a week, 800 words there…but its all missing the point. The point of 150 words a day isn’t to produce a book, or to achieve a certain word target after a fixed period of time.
Its about establishing a habit. Making a time where your focus is writing. In the beginning, developing a habit that produces consistent output is more important than the volume of the output.
So now refocus. My goal is still 150 words a day (or more). But success is spending the time writing each day, at a fixed time and place. Developing a habit that shows, to myself before anyone else, that I take this endevour seriously. Once the habit is established, then I can go on and improve my system and worry about the quality of the output.