One stupid-dumb thing I always do when making writing goals is that I come up with the goal first then I try to make my terrible methods accomplish this goal. So, for example, last year I said, “My goal is to be done with my book by the end of the year” because that sounded cool. My husband and I agreed that my writing nights would be Monday and Wednesday after dinner. Then I would try to cram in writing any other time I could. Of course I failed. Not because of the timeframe, but because my methods weren’t very wise. Also, sin.
For starters, as a stay-at-home mom with two young kids, my brain is pretty fried by 5 pm. At that point, I could probably be collecting disability. Remember that brain-egg in the frying pan commercial? “This is your brain on drugs?” Well, my brain on kids would be the same, except when he cracks the egg, a fart comes out of the egg and swirls around the pan.
I guess anyone with kids, whether you work or not, is fried at that hour, but I would argue that stay-at-home mom brain is a different flavor of exhaustion.
Anyway, I would still go upstairs and write, but it was such an inefficient use of time. Sometimes I could only get 200 words out in 90 minutes. I never took the time to experiment with different times and figure out what worked for both my family and me. But that’s all changed, you guys!
Here are some bits of wisdom I learned over the past 3 months that helped me hone in on a method that is actually working.
Clean at Night
This is a good idea for two reasons: (1) Cleaning requires little brain power or creativity, so it’s best to do while braindead in the evening. Writing, on the other hand, does require brain power and creativity, so I should probably use my fresh morning brain on this task, right? (2) My kids will destroy my cleaning efforts throughout the day and then I’ll be re-tidying up ALL day (this = rage). Better to do it once at night and wake up to a clean house.
In short, give your “stupid self” stupid tasks and your “smart self” smart tasks. I feel like if I took the time I could come up with a cool Johnnie Cochran rhyme for this.
Note: It’s not like I DON’T clean during the day. Things likes laundry have to be done during the day, but certain things are left for when the kids are in bed (e.g. loading/running dishwasher, kitchen wipe-down, tidying the living room, chiseling boogers off the furniture).
Write in the Morning
I never considered myself a morning person until I met my husband and realized there are people who need three hours to wake up. Now please don’t confuse being a “morning person” with one of those X-Men that only needs 4 hours of sleep. I wish I had that power. Anyway, I thought about getting up early to write, but it just didn’t seem practical to me.
After attending a Christian writing conference in March, one of the speakers (Costi Hinn) encouraged us to get up early. This was kind of not good to hear, because my daughter (before daylight savings time) was getting up between 5-5:30 am. That means I would have to get up at 4 am to get at least an hour in. That’s going fishing times. But I took a step of faith and started doing it. I realized if I go to bed at 9:30, I could still get 6.5-7 hours of sleep. So, three days a week, I’m up before 5, usually 4:15 am. And it works.
I Still Do Bad Things
I had a few paragraphs here about how I still do bad things, but I decided to make that into a separate blog post. To sum it up, the third bit of wisdom came about when it was brought to my attention (thank you God) that I had sin in my life that I needed to repent of. Stay tuned for that juicy gossip. Oh, and with the scripture above in mind, I actually did that (commit my work to the Lord) and I just want to warn you that sometimes God needs to correct you in order for your plans to be established. It’s worth it though.
By the way, if anyone wants to be a character witness at my trial, please e-mail me.
My Revised Methods and Writing Goals
So, here we go. Just a little snapshot of my goals for April. Things will be modified for May.
- Write ~4,750 words a week.
- Wake up early three days a week (write at least 750 words during this time)
- One writing night a week (Wednesday night, write at least 1000 words).
- Two hour block of writing Saturday (write at least 1,500 words)
- April total: ~ 19,000
- Total word count: ~ 59,500 words
This post was supposed to be short. Also, for the sake of my SEO keyword density: writing goals, writing goals.