I have not written any new fiction words in over a month.
A month! That gives my stomach a little pang seeing it written down like that.
I have been editing, beta reading, and writing for the blog, so it has not been a month without words. And I definitely needed the break, after writing 2 novellas and publishing 3 books in the first 6 months of the year. So I wasn’t too worried those first few weeks.
However, now that I’ve hit the month mark, i’m feeling a little antsy. I have a story I need to write for a joint project and the days are flying by until the (admittedly self-imposed) deadline. I should be excited to get back to it after a break, right? Wrong!
I am terrified.
It’s probably for the same reason that I have been avoiding the yoga studio this year. My last class was in 2017 and I know it won’t feel the same as when I did it regularly. It will be painful, and humans have learned to survive by avoiding painful things.
So, how can I motivate myself?
My attempted solution will be habit tracking. Habit tracking can be a very powerful motivational tool when you just can’t seem to find the time for something. Based on a quick Google search, it can take anywhere from 21 to 66 days to create a new habit.
Before you freak out about the numbers (SIXTY SIX??) remember that any new habit starts with day 1. And then day 2. And day 3… and oh man I missed day 4 should I start over? Not necessarily. You’re already 3 days closer to finishing that book!
We did a monthly writing challenge over in the Writer Mom Life Facebook group in April, and while a few people did end up writing every day, for most people, the daily reminders were enough to keep it on their mind, and a little extra push to at least try to get in a few words. And they still wrote more than they would have without the challenge.
It’s as much about the habit tracking as it is simply thinking about the habit on a regular basis. Shifting things in your mind to make it a priority, even if you don’t actually get to do it every day, will help. If you wake up thinking “When will I write today?” instead of “Oh I probably won’t have time today, shouldn’t even bother trying,” you’ll be much more likely to do it.
To help you along with that effort, I adapted the April 30-day writing challenge tracker that I shared with our community to make it for any 30-day period you like. Start today, start tomorrow, start next week. Writing for 30 days, even if it’s not 30 days in a row, means you’re that much closer to finishing your book.
But just start thinking about it and see what you’re able to do in just a few short weeks! It might just be enough to make it a habit again.