I tell you, it doesn’t work.
No time like the present to change one’s bad habits. Maybe a few quotes can spur me on my way:
- The nature of men is always the same: it is their habits that separate them. CONFUCIUS, Analects, 6th – 5th Century B.C.
- Habit is a second nature that prevents us from knowing the first, of which it has neither the cruelties nor the enchantments, MARCEL PROUST, Remembrance of Things Past: The Guermantes Way, 1913-27
- Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame. VIRGINIA WOOLF, Mrs. Dalloway, 1925
So what do I do? Beyond a doubt, I have to step up my output.
Some things are meant to happen.
I had walked by the book sitting on one of the vender tables and had fingered through it a couple of times and then gone off to look at other books with real fiction stories. Something kept drawing me back.
It may have been the niggling buzz that is now a roaring river that’s rushing at me to get this 5Writers5Months5Novels challenge completed. It may have been the fact that I know I get stuck on the first chapter since so much emphasis is put on the first few pages (even more so on the opening paragraph), and I do want to be published. I also have a habit of editing what I’ve written yesterday before I make headway today.
This book may be my inspiration to adopt better habits. It’s organized as the title indicates and I’m working my way through it. It has twelve chapters that have 101 points in total. My problem is addressed in a few places:
- Setting Reasonable Goals
- Not Being Afraid to Fail
- Trusting Your Instincts
- Completing your First Draft
- (followed by) Editing and Rewriting
Actually, there is a complete chapter dedicated to The Editing Process.
So how do I break my habits that interfere with my productivity?
I’ve decided to not sweat the small or big stuff, but to just get the job done. We said that very phrase “just get the job done,” thousands of times to our middle son as he found every excuse around to NOT do his chores or his schoolwork. Eventually the message resonated as he was left out of fun activities until he co-operated and participated in what had to be done.
For me that means I must keep forging ahead even though I haven’t figured out how my villain befriends my protagonist. I’ve got the villainous parts down pat thank goodness. I can build in their relationship later and trust myself that as I’m writing, an obvious activity or situation will come forth and expose itself like stripping down when taking a bath. Who says it has to be in the shower?
I can also leave those annoying third person scenes in their original incorrect form and address them on my rewrite. Remember, I’m writing in first person (for the first time), but third person keeps creeping in like, well, an old habit.
I certainly can stop researching every small detail to get the first draft as perfect as possible. That too can be done on the rewrite.
I could also stop doing the housecleaning, cooking and dog walking too. (Good luck with that one.)
Going forth, I can and will relax and enjoy my protagonist getting into deeper trouble with her boss as she starts to unravel the mystery behind seemingly unrelated missing persons in the community. And I can’t wait to see how her boss reacts to her insubordination especially when he has to rely on her when his own family is implicated.
That said, what is my progress to date? We all work differently and I’m not a page or word counter as such. Rather, my goal is to write a minimum of two scenes a day (starting NOW), and to get to the end of Act Two by the New Year.
My old unproductive habits have been revealed. I’m sure you have some too. What would you like to change?