If you're not familiar with the concept, the idea is simple... You set a goal for something that you're going to do every day. In my case, that's write 500 words. Then, each day when you meet that goal, you put an X on a calendar. After a few days, you have a chain. And then, in the words of comedian Jerry Seinfeld, your job is simple. "Don't Break The Chain!"
I officially started my chain on September 1st, 2011. As you can see below, I've been able to keep the chain going on a regular basis. Each box through yesterday has a nice little X in it. (EDITED TO ADD: Someone asked me in the comments where I get the calendar templates. I get them from this site: http://myboatclub.com/2012/avycalendar2012_Month.htm.)
|134 days and counting!|
One of the most important things when you set out to use the Chain is to choose your goal wisely. If it's something that you have good reason to believe you simply won't be able to do every day, then it might not be a good candidate for the goal.
The best decision I made was to have a broad definition of what counted as "words" for my chain. My 500 words can be new words on a fiction project, blog post words, even words that go into a critique for a fellow writer. All three of those are things that I believe keep my writing progress moving forward, so none of them feel like a "cheap" option. But there are certainly some days when mentally it's easier for me to work on a blog post or a critique than to try to press forward with a fiction project. Having that ability to let my fiction-writing brain "rest" has been very valuable.
I've thought a lot in the past about whether I wanted to try to add an editing/revising metric to this. For now, I'm going to stick with not adding such a metric. Editing and revising is important, and I may yet decide at some point to modify my daily goal to give revisions as an option. Most likely that would happen if I determined that was going to be the only way I was going to be able to reasonably devote enough time to revisions on the first draft I completed during NaNoWriMo.
For now, the metric I'm planning to add to my overall goals from month to month for revising will be an "hour count" goal. So, I might say that I'll spend four hours per week on revisions or something of that sort. I think that I would be able to keep myself rather honest there and not spend those four hours "revising" but really playing around on Twitter. Of course, if I tried that for a month or two and it wasn't working, I could change course again.
In the end, I think that's what I've learned. Set a realistic goal. If you're giving it an honest try and it's not working, don't be afraid to adjust. Find what works for you.
Thanks for reading this post and the 99 which have come before it. I'm looking forward to sharing the next 100 with you!