How to Get Back On Track & Start Making Daily Progress With Your Writing
Photo by Chase Elliott Clark

How to Get Back On Track & Start Making Daily Progress With Your Writing

How often do you get off track? Does it happen a lot? Do you need help making daily progress with your writing?

Staying focused on our writing goals and sticking to our schedules can take a little work. And sometimes we need some tools to help us along the way.

So, what are some things that will help you stay focused on your goals?

Discipline

First, there's discipline, the arch nemesis of procrastination. When we say we're going to do something, we need to stick with it – that's discipline. When we say we're going to sit in the chair until we've written 1,700 words, we must do it, no matter how painful it is.

Roadmap

But sometimes no amount of discipline can scrounge up enough words for us to meet our goal. If we don't have it in us, we're going to have a hard time. That's where pre-plotting comes in. If you have a good idea of what you're going to write next, staying on track of your schedule will be much easier. If coming up with enough words is a major challenge, we can make it easier on ourselves if we do a little brainstorming first.

So, you have to have discipline, but you also need a roadmap. (You might not need a roadmap right away, but you may need one later on down the road.)

Task Board

Another thing that can help you stay focused and on track of your writing schedule is a task board. There are some web-based task management software programs that would work great for this, but if you're looking for something that's easy to use and you've got the space, try using a wall (note: it helps if the wall has a flat/matte paint).

Recently, I looked for a visual board-style task management software and I found some great resources, but I really needed a program that I could download on an older computer and use without needing access to the internet. Eventually, I settled for the plain, old, hard version, and it's been working very well. I taped index cards for the day of the week (Sunday through Saturday) on the wall, and then I use sticky notes of various colors for the tasks and goals. It gives me an idea of what tasks I need to complete throughout the week, and I'm able to move tasks around. You can do this on a simple task list, but I wanted a visual board.

I have tasks that I work on every day and then I have tasks that I complete each week. Since everything is up on the wall, I have a clear view of how much extra time I should have for additional tasks, which is usually more than I think.

Self-Care

I've talked about self-care a fair amount recently and I think it's important enough to mention here. Self-care means many different things. But in terms of our writing career, I like to think of it as the things we need to do in order to keep us motivated, inspired, and energized so we can write and work on making daily progress. If we're neglecting a particular area of our lives and if we feel frustrated about it, that negative energy can carry over into our writing work. When we're distracted, it's hard to focus. If we can figure out the things we need to work  on every day, we can set ourselves up for success. These things could include daily bible reading and prayer; exercise, eating salads, or drinking water to stay hydrated and energized; and a daily dose of reading.

So, what are the things that you need to do every day to stay motivated? It's not so much the amount of time we spend, but the fact that we've been able to spend *some* amount of time on it that helps us.

Setting ourselves up for success takes a little work in the beginning, but it will help us get to the finish line and meet our goals.

Jody Calkins
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