- the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.
- an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.
November is only a few days away, and NaNoWriMo is almost here again.
This year, I have given serious thought to giving it a go. Will I get round to actually signing up and starting? Probably not this year. How does that relate to commitment?
Simple. It made me focus my thinking on writing again. Over the last few months, my writing has been sporadic, at best, and non–existent at other times. The lead up to November focussed my mind on something that I should have been doing for months: Just writing.
I thought about my life before my MS, and my life after. The difference is that before, I committed to being the best athlete I could be: I trained every day. I kept track of times, weights lifted, etc. I worked hard in my job, producing and working with some of the best volunteers ever.
After MS, my focus slipped. I tried to commit to the training, but it was harder. Much harder. My work had to take a backwards step, as I tried to get the work / life balance right.
What I have come to learn however, is that my commitment is still there, it’s aimed at different things now. With all that in mind, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on how you can commit to your writing:
- Set yourself a goal, but do it carefully.
Some of you may have come across SMART goals (See earlier post). If not, here it is in microcosm:
Specific: Be clear on what it is you want to achieve. If it is to write 50,000 words in a month, do that (be mindful of ‘Achievable’). If it is to complete that short story, do that.
Measurable: How will you know if you have achieved your goal? Do you have milestones / word counts / completion dates? Me: 4 new first drafts by Christmas, 4 more by March.
Achievable: Can you do what you say you are going to do? What else are you dealing with in your life? Have you ever written that number of words before? Me: I have a limited number of hours available to me (did I say MS?), so 50k may be unrealistic in a month. In 6 months? That would be 275 words per day. That sounds a bit more realistic for me.
Relevant: Is the goal something you need to do? You can make SMART goals for folding clothes, but it won’t help your writing (I don’t think so anyway). Pick a relevant goal – word count, amount of pages, stories completed / submitted etc.
Time limited: When will it be completed? This may be a point in time far in the future. If so, break it down into smaller manageable chunks; 6 months, one month, one week, today.
- Write your goals down. Then tell someone what you intend to do. Post it on your blog. Having someone in your corner to cheer you on is a powerful motivator. Knowing that you have to explain when you fall behind, works as well!
- Stick to your targets (see step 1). Don’t let small things get in the way (like bad TV). If you can go beyond your daily word count (for example), go for it – you’re making a cushion for those days when that count is difficult to achieve.
- Just do it. There is no easy way to get round this one. Sit down and start writing (unless you use one of those standing-up desks, in which case sitting down may make it hard to reach).
Anyone care to share their near-term goals?