One of my first blog entries talked about how "Writing Begets Writing" and NOT writing begets not writing. I'm really committed to maintaining the momentum I've built up in the last month around my writing. Some days it feels like the easiest, most natural thing in the world. Other days it can feel like a real drag -- the words don't want to come on a new story, the story I'm going through an edit on feels like it's just not working, etc.
So I'm looking for ways to help myself keep writing. I've already talked about one of the techniques, using peer pressure as a way to keep myself writing, not wanting to have to tell people "Yeah, I guess I sort of set that aside for now." (Again.)
Getting into the Twitter and blog world has been helpful, too. I spend lots of non-writing time thinking about writing and discussing writing with other people. There's a hazard, though, that I could end up spending all my time talking about writing instead of actually writing. That's a balance that I'm trying to carefully calibrate. (Hmm... Could that be foreshadowing of a future blog post?)
My third approach to holding myself accountable to my own writing goals will be The Seinfeld Chain.
The Seinfeld Chain is an idea which I read about several years ago, originating with comedian Jerry Seinfeld. It really couldn't be more simple. You get a big wall calendar (or some other visible equivalent) and a bold marker. Commit to some goal which you will achieve every day. Then, when you've met each day's goal, put an "X" in the calendar for the day. Quickly, you'll have a chain of "X"s and then all you have to do, in Seinfeld's words, is "Don't Break the Chain."
There's nothing writing-specific about this technique. You could use this for all sorts of such as home-cooking a meal, exercising, keeping in touch with a friend or family member; anything you wanted to do every day could be tracked with this method.
I've set myself a goal to write 500 new words every day. They can be on a story, a blog post, a critique or Beta Reader notes for someone I'm working with. They could even be in the form of a personal journal if that's what I felt I needed to be writing on that given day. I'll be going out to buy a calendar in the next few days, so I can start with September 1st.
I'm also going to make one small tweak to this. I intend to allow myself one "Mulligan" every four weeks. There's going to be some day when everything goes wrong and I get to the end of the day and just don't have any time left. So that day, I'll still give myself the "X" but there will be a big "M" written in between the two upper arms of the "X." That way I won't "forget" that I already took my Mulligan.
500 words a day may not sound like a lot. Remember, many novels are around 100,000 words. That's 200 days. If you started writing a novel 500 words at a time today you'd reach 100,000 words on March 25th, 2012. That's less than seven months away!
What could you accomplish, if you committed to working at it every day?