I feel focused. There has been a shift in my thinking. Now I am much more aware of the minimum I expect from myself I find myself more at peace with the whole process. I know what I have to get done, when I should be doing it and how much is enough to feel I have accomplished something in the day. I have rewards in place and I allow myself the luxury of these to maintain my momentum. All of a sudden I’m not worried anymore; writing is not a struggle for me, it is a privilige and a gift.
Perhaps I have set the bar too low. Perhaps I have created too easy a plan with too frequent a reward. If this is the case, so be it. I feel like a writer. Having a schedule makes it appear that it is my job, and it happens to be a job I adore. The goals for each particular day are not cumbersome or overwhelming and by the close of each day I really feel that progress has been made. This is a big difference from my novel writing experience of April and May when things were stalled.
So, yes, I’ve only been following the pre-determined, goal-orienteted schedule for a week. But I do feel like it’s working – I’ve been looking forward to the challenges each particular day has in store. By identifying what it is I need to work on before the day in question, I can mould my mind around the task and prepare myself for it, rather than falter in my decisions about which project to prioritise and then feeling guilty that I’m favouring one over the other. I know that today is about planning some scenes for the YA novel in preparation for November, whereas on Saturday I’m focusing on improving my word count and advancing the story for my current novel, followed by editing a short story on Sunday. This way, I can justify prioritising one thing over another and my mind doesn’t wander when I’m working on different projects.
I can’t believe I haven’t instilled this technique into my daily life before! It’s all about defining reasonable expecations and being aware how these can impact on your ability to accomplish tasks. It’s amazingly freeing – even though it appears to rigidly constrict creativity. But now I don’t feel I’m wasting my brainpower on trying to make inconsequential decisions about ‘what to do today’: instead I can jump right in and explore the challenge. For me, it seems, progress is born out of creating focus – by defining just what it is I expect from myself and accepting this is enough.