One of the things I’ve learned about myself over the years is that I tend to be a hare (as in The Tortoise and the Hare) in the way that I go about accomplishing things.
Let me illustrate: If it’s Monday and there are ten things to do by Friday, the reasonable person might do two a day. Or a go-getter might do seven tasks today, three tomorrow–and have three days to relax. A procrastinator might wait until late Thursday or mid-day Friday to get all ten tasks done.
What I tend to do is sprint, then rest. I may knock out three tasks today. Rest tomorrow. Knock out four on Wednesday. Rest Thursday. Finish the last three Friday. Or I may just inexplicably accomplish everything Wednesday afternoon. It’s very mood dependent.
Why is this important, you ask? Well, when it comes to an endeavor like NaNo, where I should be doing something everyday, I tend to struggle with the routine. I tend to fight it. On any given day, I may race ahead, or do nothing at all.
This behavior, of course, has negative knock-on effects. Coming back to a story after a several day lay off feels much different than after having written 2,000 words that morning. The daily grind of getting down a certain number of words everyday builds a kind of writing fitness, where things begin to come easier, where the writer (one hopes) begins to think less about the process and more about the content. When everything is clicking along, the words appear magically on the page without much thinking at all.
So for me, NaNo is a good exercise to try to break my hare-ish habits, at least when it comes to writing. I’m hoping the routine I’m learning now will stick with me, long after November has ended.
What about you? What’s your approach to staying ‘fit’ as a writer? What obstacles do you find you must overcome to be successful?