There is definitely a scattered feeling here lately. I think my attention is spread across too many tasks and priorities. I aim to work on my blog, the novel, a podcast, travel articles, short stories, poetry, essays, and painting… all while still trying to adjust to new habits. It’s a bit daunting and just a tad overwhelming.
I think I need to slow down and prioritize my first order of business and then focus on that priority.
I always said that I must spend this next year (2017) creating content (i.e. writing, and in particular, writing the novel, my blog, and short stories). I need to give myself more time to develop new habits and become consistent in those habits. This long laundry list of goals is fracturing my first priority and causing frustration.
I think that if I am to make progress, I need to ease up when I make a mistake or have trouble concentrating. Rather than berate myself when I have a string of not-so-productive days, I need to look inward to determine why I cannot seem to focus to get the work done.
Now granted, I know I am trying something new here, with me writing everyday and trying to have a daily word count to create structure. But, to develop new habits, I have to be consistent, and there are times when consistency is lacking.
There are two books I am currently reading about the writing process and productivity for creatives.
The first is Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg. Currently a quarter of the way through and I find her advice and insights helpful. One piece of advice: Keep your hand moving (or typing) so as not to let your editor get in the way of your creative process.
The second is Productivity for Creative People: How to Get Creative Work Done in an “Always On” World by Mark McGuinness. Two thirds into this one, and while some of his chapters have not pertained to me, he offers some great advice. One bit in particular that resonated was sometimes you just need to “do nothing” to give yourself a break/recharge. Another (and this one I absolutely plan to do) is to color-code your calendar. On the days where you complete your daily word count, you mark it in red (or blue, or green or whatever color you choose). On days that you do not complete your word count, you mark it in a different color. You are then tasked with trying to have as many consecutive “red” days as possible. It’s a fun way to challenge yourself.
I am also learning of a few nifty programs I can use (should I want or need to) to assist with my writing. One such program is Scrivener a software application that helps you track your writing progress. I’ve not yet looked into using this but it sounds interesting. I checked and there is a 30-day free trial (linked above).
I suppose now it’s a matter of focusing on the writing and being gentle and non-judgmental when I find myself scattered, overwhelmed, or having an unproductive day.