Because Dreams Aren’t Enough

Life is choices. It’s that simple. It is the little choices we make each day that shape our lives. While we have different struggles and concerns, at the end of the day, we decide what actions we will take to overcome the obstacles before us.

Like many other writers, writing isn’t my day job. While I have a good job, it doesn’t feed my creative side. You might be able to relate. In a perfect world, I’d be sitting at my desk writing novels instead of typing log notes.

I was on Facebook the other day when I came across a video of Denzel Washington talking to a group of students. (Here’s the link if your interested in viewing: http://youtu.be/O0mUqEa7XnM ) He talked about dreams and goals, discipline and consistency.  These are some of the same things we’ve probably all said to our children – maybe not in the same words – but with the same intents.

I wondered why I haven’t been applying this to my dream of being a full-time writer.  And I think I know the answer – I lacked discipline.  The choices I was making reflected this.

WP_20140921_006I looked at my writing space. Unlike my desk at work, my “writing” area wasn’t  organized.  I had notes laying haphazardly around.  Nothing was easy to find.  This was a problem.  If I could stay organized for my day job, then certainly,  my dream job deserved the same level of professionalism.

 

My day job requires that I work from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, five days a week, for a total of forty hours.  Like you, I come home, cook dinner and do a variety of other things. I might sit down and watch a television, maybe do a little social media stuff – stop by a google + community, spend a little time on twitter, etc. The thing is nothing was set in stone, not like my day job.  This was an area I needed to improve. I worked out a schedule that limited the amount of time I was being “social,” included a period for exercise, and allotted time to work on my WIP.

I decided I needed to set some goals in regards to my latest story:  things like a weekly word count and an estimated time to completion.  With a completion date selected, I’m more consistent with my writing because I’m focused on my goal.

So, this is what’s been going on with me.  I’m always looking for ideas for better utilizing my time.  If you have any tips, please feel free to share.

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14 comments

  1. I’m sure there are obvious things you can do, like set aside dedicated time slots for writing, say 8 to 9pm each night, that’s your writing time and you stick to it whether you feel like it or not. And whether you write garbage or not. The problem with that is you still need that discipline to pull yourself away from the tv or other activity.

    I’ve tried setting an alarm on my phone “7.30pm – Writing Time!” But it doesn’t always work out that easily, and then I have guilt to contend with for not putting myself in the chair.

    One thing I have learned is to lock myself away when I do write. Shut the door and tell others that you need alone time for x hours, or whatever. Interruptions are hazards to your flow.

    Goals are a good way to measure your progress, but if you can’t stick to a schedule every day, maybe a weekly goal “X Words by this Sunday” or “Finish Ch 7 by the 19th” could be a better way of keeping focussed regardless of word count per day.

    My work routine is similar to yours and yet I find my office space at home is wildly different to that at work. The difference between home and work is that at work you are paid to reach goals, and you have to reach them, yet so often that ethic doesn’t translate to writing. Personally I find it difficult to force myself into a routine and prefer to write when the mood grabs me, that way I get quality time and hopefully quality words, and feel a sense of achievement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’m going to employ your idea of using a chapter goal instead of a word count goal. There’s enough stress without needlessly adding more! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. By the way, I stopped by your blog – I’ll probably be staring at everyone’s earlobes now… Seriously, I enjoyed reading Jacob/Glimmer. You’ve got some good stuff going there!

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    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post and share your thoughts. I think that just acknowledging our “discipline” problem may make us more mindful of the choices we make! Good luck!

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    1. I can’t even imagine the challenges you are facing. At least with my job, I’m not having to study & write papers, etc. But I do believe that discipline is the key to being successful at anything. Thanks for taking the time to read my post & sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing the link. You’re right about my schedule – While you’re get the benefit of travel, it must be frustrating, having to deal with an erratic schedule and jet lag. Good luck with your writing!

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  2. How do you manage to achieve as much as you do, Deborah? But you’re right – you do need to discipline yourself. I write full time and it’s amazing how much time you can waste before getting down to the actual business. It’s all about routines, scented candles and quite a bit of walking. That’s when I get my best ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marjorie! I’m looking forward to the day when I won’t have to squeeze the writing in-between all the other things. I’ve got my endgame plans in motion – 2 years and I’m free – provided the world doesn’t collapse beforehand! (Fingers crossed) Working on establishing those routines – bad habits are hard to break – but I’m getting there. Take care! And let me know when your next book comes out.

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