On a 200-a-Day Habit

One of my ill-considered New Year resolutions was to really give this writing thing a go. If I’m not writing, then I’m not a writer. I’m an intending-to-writer, a planning-to-writer; or, worst of all, a once-was-nearly-writer. And I don’t want to be those things.

So, like most other aspiring writers, I’ve read all the how-to suggestions – and one of the most pervasive is the idea that you should write, even a little, every day.

So, as is my want, I had to make a purchase to make my ideas real. In this case, a writing diary, to keep track of my word counts. Sure, I could just set up a Word document or an Excel sheet, but my pattern is to buy something to make my plans real. And a diary is nowhere near the most expensive thing I’ve bought in an attempt to make myself do something I wouldn’t otherwise do.

Word count becomes important here. If I wrote 1,000 words a day, I’d have a novel in no time! But, truth be told, if I wrote 1,000 words a day, I’d never have gotten through the first week. You have to be realistic with yourself. Be honest with the true you.

And so, I set my target at 200 words a day, a total so small that doing it is almost an afterthought. And this has helped. There have been days when I’ve worked late and just wanted to get away from my computer and lie down for a week. And if I’d needed to then knock off 1,000 words…or even 500 words…I would have given up then and there.

But 200 words I can do. And 200 words I have done. OK, one day it was 40 words. But that was something. Every other day it’s been at least 200 words. And the thing about such a low-bar target is that doing two-times that – or three or four times – is not that hard. So some days, it’s 400 words. Sometimes it’s over a thousand. But as long as, every day, I’m aiming at those 200 words, then I’m getting more writing done in January than I think I managed in the whole of 2017, blog posts excluded.

So far, so good.

Now I need to come up with an equally effective system for eating healthier and getting more exercise. One step at a time, I guess. Hey look: 400+ words. That’s today sorted.

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