Saturday, September 14, 2019

When You Break Your Streak

You've been writing for 23 days in a row. Day 24 comes...and you don't write. Day 25 and you don't write. Day 26 comes. You write two sentences but don't write the rest of the day because you totally skipped the last two. Day 27 you feel just so fed up with the last three days. You're frustrated with yourself, disappointed, and you think "Why bother?"And instead of writing, you watch Netflix. Then you don't write for five weeks. Day after day, it just seems like too much since you broke your streak.

One of the biggest pieces of writing advice is "Write every day." Some writers have to do this to keep things up, to keep up the momentum, and that works for them. That's terrific but it's different for many of us. I call bulls*&t. I don't write every day. I want to try to get some drafting work in every day. I do often do some sort of "story work" most weekdays. Probably four days a week. So I do writing/story work approximately four days a week. Fridays is for creative recharging, or personal development, or just entirely me time. This is what works for me. If you give up when you break your streak, you'll get nowhere because you'll constantly be giving up. You know why? Because there are very few people who can actually keep up with writing every single day. You honestly expect to write every single day no matter what for the rest of your life? Talk about pressure.

I think it's terrific to try to keep up a streak of writing or even story work. It keeps you in your story's world, you learn each time you write a new scene, sentence, etc. If you break that streak though, you get up and you go for it again the next day. Yes, you'll have a day in there where you didn't write, but it's better to have one than one hundred straight with nothing because you got frustrated you weren't perfect and gave up. (This applies to so many other things: yoga, working out, meditation, journaling...)

Another tip more specific to writing: don't set the goal for the day insanely high. When I'm drafting, for example, I know that I can realistically get 1,000 words per day. That is doable for me now. It wasn't four years ago, three years ago. I would probably shoot for 500 then. If you can realistically get 500 words in a day, shoot for that. If 300 is more your thing, shoot for that. 2,000? That's amazing! Go for it! If it pushed you TOO much, lower it a little bit. Same with editing, plotting, etc.

Please don't give up just because you miss a day...or three or seven. Get back up and start again. I know you can do it. Begin again. ;)

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