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My July Writing Routine

I read an advance copy of Michael Haynes' "Write Every Day: Hints and Tips Toward a Writing Routine" and found it caught my interest.  I'm SO not a routine person.  But I'm definitely a "bad-habit" person and I think I've gotten into some bad habits around my writing. Reading, socializing, and tweaking finished stories are not getting me to my ultimate goals.

One of Michael's suggestions is to create a visual marker, a big X on a blank calendar,  for every successful writing day - then to tell yourself not to break the chain of x's.  I have been writing a flash story at Liberty Hall every weekend since August of 2010, and it is amazing how motivating the idea of not breaking my chain of stories has been - without even using the term chain, I've been using the idea.

So, today, July 1 I took out a blank calendar sheet and marked a BIG X for my great day - I wrote another flash story today.

Michael's other big suggestion is to define a successful writing day in a way that makes it more likely you'll succeed.   He suggests choices.  So my five choices that I will consider equal a successful writing day are

  1. Write 500 words of new fiction (yay, today!)
  2. Write 500 words of blog post (s) (I figure writing some ahead of time would be useful, 500 word posts are a bit long for me)
  3. Write 500 words of critique (s)
  4. Revise (major - not my typical tweak, retweak) one of those flash stories I've been piling up
  5. 2 hours of steady organizing of my fiction, submission records and other data concerning my writing.  This will be a good goal for days when I just can't manage to write.

So I've got my first X for my new chain.  I'm also participating in W1S1 (Write 1, Sub 1 as Ray Bradbury once advised) still, and have not broken that chain since I started - it has significantly helped my submission rates, although not acceptance rates yet, lol.

Check out Michael's book - and check out Liberty Hall Writers if you're interested in joining the weekly flash challenges, and W1S1 if you're interested in joining that as well!

Crossposted from Lee Hallison

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This type of thing is where my own dichotomy drives me crazy. I LOVE routine. But I can't get one set for my own writing. Of course, my days are no longer routine at all, so I guess that's the issue. I don't have enough "free" time to set a routine. But maybe something like this would work for me. I used to write 100 words a day and did that successfully for about a year and a half, never missing 1 day. But I burned out and got to where I was only writing that 100 words without even trying to do more, so I quit. And now I can't get myself back into it, because there are those days when I don't write, but revise, which usually means subtracting words. And I've never thought about counting the organizing and subbing time -- that's a great idea. I definitely need a goal. Been doing the write 1 sub 1, too --are you keeping "track" somewhere officially, or just doing it on your own? -- but I haven't been writing beyond LH at all. Or very little. And I haven't been coming up with any useable stories from the flashes lately, either. *sigh* I'm in a rut.

I think ruts need to be plowed through - in other words, don't give up! You are writing more than you were, actually - seems like I didn't see you for a while! Today I didn't feel up to writing and spent a lot of time getting my LH stories organized, that felt great. I also track stories on Duotrope, my list of pieces - even if not subbed - so that tends to fall behind. Got that updated today.
The W1S1 - only doing that "chain" in my head. Like the LH chain. I figure if I write for LH, that's my Write 1, and if I can't think of anywhere to sub something, there's always Lightspeed for a fast reject.

I've been doing the same, the Flash is my write 1, even though I haven't been finishing lately -- or working further on them. But I have been subbing a story every week, which has meant finally getting around to revising some of my stories that have been waiting and waiting and waiting for revision. So there is some movement.

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