How to Not Take a Break – A Writer’s Guide

Dear Blog,

Tuesday was the first day of my “break week” after my insane 14-day plan to finish drafting the remaining 45,000 words of my new novel. This is the week where I enter the editing phase. The dreadful editing phase…

It’s actually not that bad. I’m on Chapter 11. I have a few parts I need to flesh out more, but overall it’s going well.

The part I had also planned on doing was getting back to writing for other projects. And that isn’t going so well. I can see my daily average word count receding rapidly and it’s driving me crazy. I went from an average of 2,011 words per day to 1,901 (as of end-of-day yesterday). If I don’t pick things up again, it’ll keep slipping.

But I have to remind myself that I’m in a break week. The whole point to this plan was to focus, focus, focus for two weeks on just one project (more projects if I had the time and energy) and then cut myself some slack when the time was up. That would give me time to go through the edits, finalize the book cover, and then get the book set up for publication to be released the 15th of the month.

Why is it so hard for us to take a break or cut ourselves some slack?

We look at the progress we’re making while we’re super productive and then we get frustrated when we don’t keep it going.

I’m one of those daily-progress people. If I’m not working on a particular thing every day, I get frustrated. It’s soul sucking. I feel my creativity high-tailing it out the building.

It’s a mind thing. I get that. And getting back on track is only as hard as I make it. With that knowledge, it should be a breeze to get going again.

But yet, we allow ourselves to dwell on our lack of progress.

Well, we can’t do that anymore.

If we want words on the page, even when we’re busy with other projects and we’ve already mapped out a particular plan to take a break, we need to take charge. We need to devote a certain amount of time to writing (or whatever the thing is).

Part of my problem is that it’s been a while since I last worked on my other projects, so I feel out of the loop with them. I’m not in the zone yet. So, I just need to spend some time reviewing what I have so far, work on brainstorming to get a feel for the story again, and maybe even work on some outlining.

This productivity plan is a work in progress. Which means I can modify it a smidge to make it work for me. What I need to do is, either allow one day for review or change Day 14 to a half day, meaning I have to finish my current project during the first half of the day so I can get started on reviewing the next project during the second half before I delve into edits the following day. (Can you tell I’m a slave driver? *nervous grin*)

Things will get interesting during my next 14-day session because if I don’t make any progress on the next project before then, I’ll have to pump out 55,000 words. That’s an extra 10,000 words during those two weeks which amount to roughly 3,929 words per day (that’s 714 words per day more than before).

But I pushed myself to knock out the 3,215 word average with this plan and I succeeded. Before the plan, I was lucky to manage 1,000 words a day. So, this progress is huge. We can simply do anything if we push ourselves harder. Piece of cake. 😉

Who’s with me?

Jody Calkins
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