Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Letting Go Of The Chain

"Will I give up the chain someday even while continuing a daily writing routine? I suppose it's possible. But I know that if I did give it up and then realized I was having trouble keeping to a routine, I'd want to return to using the chain to help myself get back into a groove.
In the end, the chain is just another tool to help you reach your goals. Like any tool, you can use it when it's helpful and leave it in its toolbox when it's not."
- A Time to Let Go of the Chain? (Chapter 11, Write Every Day)
I've been considering this for a while, off and on. But I've decided to make it official with the start of 2013. I'm no longer going to be formally maintaining a Daily Writing Chain.

This is sort of a big deal, in my mind, and it's not a decision I've made lightly. The Daily Writing Chain was absolutely key to my growth as a writer in 2011 and the beginning of 2012 but I feel like I've reached a point where it's not something I require to stay motivated with my writing "career" at this time. The habit of writing has become ingrained, become such an major part of everyday life for me, that the chain feels superfluous. I came to this conclusion when December was more than halfway over and I hadn't yet printed out my new calendar. I knew that I had written every day to that point (except for one "mulligan" day that my Daily Writing Chain definition allowed for) but the act of actually marking off the boxes had lost its meaning for me.

I absolutely stand by the Daily Writing Chain as a way to begin and nurture a daily writing routine and I still intend to work on writing on a daily basis, but the manner in which I do so may be a bit more freeform.

This is not necessarily a permanent decision. If I find that having the "flexibility" to work off-chain has turned after a month or two into a way of enabling bad habits, I'll definitely want to start a new Daily Writing Chain and get back to the good habits which have helped me through these past months. But if I'm able to maintain a high level of productivity in a Chain-free environment, then I will be happy at the consistency of routine that I've been able to build up for myself and not look back at all.

If you are someone who is struggling to build up good writing habits, I think it's still very much worth attempting a Daily Writing Chain of your own. You could read my original "Seinfeld Chain" blog post where I began formalizing my approach for a daily writing routine. Or you could pick up my eBook on the topic, Write Every Day, at Amazon. There are other resources out there, too, for advice and support on writing every day.

What I've always said is that, in the end, every writer must find the process which allows him or her to best be productive. I expect I'll still be involved every day, in one way or another, in writing. But I now believe that I can continue to make good strides with my writing without sticking to a fixed set of routines. I'll know soon enough if that's true or not and I'll be sure to share what I determine with all of you who read my blog.
Author's Note: This post was drafted last week and originally would have run on December 17th after final tweaks and links, etc. In an odd twist of fate, I was horribly ill the better part of the 17th and 18th and am still recuperating today. So this post didn't make it up on schedule and I didn't get any writing done either of those days. And I feel just fine about this at the moment. I don't think I could have gotten anything productive done those days and even today I'm going to take it kind of easy. I'm not revising the post, but I'm also considering myself officially off-chain as of right now. We'll see how it goes...


  1. I respect your decision. May your writing journey take you in directions you could never foresee!

    1. Thanks, Michael! I'm hoping that this change works well, but I'm always willing to change course again if I find that it does not!

  2. Good decision Michael. What you said is true and sounds good.