Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On Persistence

Tuesday night I did not want to write. My shoulder hurt, I was tired, and we'd just watched (another) frustrating defeat of the local Columbus Blue Jackets.

In and of itself, not wanting to write one evening wouldn't be an awful thing. But I hadn't been able to devote lunch time to writing on Tuesday either. So, I was facing the prospect of either getting down to writing anyway or having to use my "mulligan" in my Seinfeld Chain. That's something I haven't done yet. In fact, I had noted on Monday that with 30 days in September, 31 in October, and 14 so far in November that I had a 75-day chain of writing 500 words or more every day.

The more I thought about using my mulligan, I really didn't want to do it. What if I ended up really sick one day and couldn't even get out of bed? I'd regret having using my mulligan just because I was feeling kind of tired and achy one night.

Tackling my NaNo project right then seemed daunting, though. So I said "Well, I've got a flash fiction to be writing for Friday, from Nellie's prompt. I guess I'll start on that." And I did that and when I wrapped up the first draft of that I was at 400 words and change.

If I was the type of person to say "Fiddlesticks", then I'm sure that's what I would have said at that point. But, stubbornly, I opened up my NaNo project. After all, how hard could it be to add 100 words to it and hit my 500. I could do that in just a few minutes. And an hour later I had another 1000 words on my project including some stuff I really like.

So I ended up with a first draft of a flash fiction and 2% of my NaNo work for the month. All because I didn't want to break my chain. No, this method won't work for everyone. But it's worked really well for me.


  1. Way to power through. Sometimes that's the best way to get rolling again.

  2. Thanks, Julie! I was really very pleased with how it went. So glad that I didn't give in and let myself have a night off! :)

  3. Writing is all about perseverance and consistency. I'm happy for you! I've gotten the same way. It's very rare where I'm not spending evenings working in some form of writing. Keep up the good work Mike! I wish you all the best.

  4. Glad that you could keep going! That can be the hardest to do and even though you struggled, congrats on keeping with it!

  5. Thanks, Jacob! Glad to hear that you're keeping at it as well.

    Krista, thanks!

  6. Good for you, Michael! For me, the hardest part is overcoming that initial reluctance. If you can brow-beat it into submission, you can make great strides. Once the internal (and sometimes external) whining is over, there's nothing left but focus.

  7. Daniel, well-put. The inertia of not writing can be very powerful for me. That's part of why I think making it a habit to write every day has been so powerful (and, quite possibly, necessary) for me to make the progress I have this year.

    Thanks for stopping by!