It’s been a crazy year so far for many of my author friends and writing coachees. Some have been moving forward on their book projects, while others have hit roadblocks. June is around the corner. It’s a month of tying up work before people disappear on summer vacation. (At least, here in France it is. Lucky for you, here at editor deluxe ‘holidays’ is a bad word.)
If your book has stalled recently, why not use June to create a solid writing habit?
In all honesty, many new drafts of books are produced in a spurt of activity. But that’s after the first draft is out. To get a fledgling project off the ground one month of daily writing can really give that baby wings. That adage: write a page a day and at the end of the year you’ll have a novel? It isn’t exactly true because the goal of a page per day for a whole year is so huge for many of us that we smell failure and give up early. A (good) page per day for a whole year is super hard, even for writers on their fifth book. There are work commitments, school holidays, unscheduled illnesses, family who need you. So let’s dial it back to focus simply on June. Before it gets too hot and we all slide into a pool….
I ought to mention there are two types of writing: first draft blast writing and slow methodical revision. If you are on revision mode, then you absolutely need blocks of time to quietly address your book manuscript so you can see the wood for the trees and rewrite chunks (before you pass it to an editor!) so this writing habit creation may not apply.
But if you are on first draft blast mode or trying to create a writing habit from scratch having never written an entire book before, then know that you can make a writing habit after one month and the way to do it is write every day of June. Gretchen Rubin, of The Happiness Project suggests making a new habit daily because if you aim for 4x per week, you’ll find yourself bargaining: “If I skip today I’ll for sure write on Thursday…” It takes that decision-making stress away if you have to write daily. Like flossing. You do floss daily, don’t you?
For the first week of June: Set your timer daily for 15 minutes and write for that amount of time. If you don’t have 15 minutes in your day to write, then take yourself out for coffee and write then, or whip out a journal and write while you’re waiting in the car for school to let out, or take a portion of your lunchbreak to scribble for a few minutes. Build it up to 15 minutes if you only have 5 initially. Week two go for 20 minutes. Week three up it to 30 minutes and then keep it there. You can write longer than 30 minutes, but write every day.
That adage about having a novel after 365 days of a page per day is kind of true. It’ll be an unedited, all-over-the-place novel, but you’ll have 365 pages of something. The way to get there is to get a daily writing habit so that you start to enjoy the process and want to write no matter if it’s working or not.
Let me know if you are up for this–June starts on Monday–do I hear a ‘Yes, ma’am!’?