It has been five weeks since the demise of my daily writing routine.
Time to stop whining, and give myself a proverbial kick in the ass. I am my own worst enemy when a big change happens. Any major shift in routine has the potential to set me back weeks, while I struggle to adjust. For those of you in the same boat as me, here are three things I do in order to juggle home life, building my network, and writing while the earth stands still.
#1 Setting Goals
Setting goals has never been difficult for me. Achieving them is a different story. Here are the long and short term goals I have currently set for myself.
Short term goals:
- Set constant posting schedule
- Develop Pinterest marketing strategy
- Develop podcast
- Edit manuscript
Long term goals:
- Build network
- Self publish
- Earn revenue
I have found having my goals written out keeps me on track. I have to be mindful of setbacks, as I easily succumb to self doubt and pity parties. Having a visual reminder is prudent. Something to remind myself all victories, no matter their size, are moving me closer to my goals.
You have to construct a strong foundation, when building something intended to last. Slow and steady wins this race.
I’m not visually creative. Many writers I know build pretty planners, and colorful charts as visual reminders. I love the idea, but lack the skills to build such eye-catching pieces. (It really is an art all on its own.)
Personally, I work better with loose guidelines rather than plotting out every minute detail of my day. I feel boxed in when I try to force myself to follow a strict schedule. For example, say I schedule a day to edit a chapter but instead I came up with a really great blog topic. I would have to stifle that creative flow, in order to complete my scheduled task, making it unlikely I would be at all productive that day because of it. It’s more productive for me to pick from a list of weekly tasks, allowing me to not feel guilty if I can’t work on a particular project at a specific time. I have to remind myself, as long as I am writing something productive, I’m moving closer to my goals. To be fair, my life is fairly simple at this stage. I am sure as my business grows, I will have to learn how to schedule my day more rigidly around clients and deadlines, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
Why is structure important? It is really quite simple, it keeps me productive and is good for my mental health. I am a creature of habit. I go to bed by 9:00 most nights, and wake up around 6:30 most mornings. I make coffee, enjoy a morning smoke, wake up kids for school, check the news and the blogs, etc… It is all pretty normal, and predictable. Which, I couldn’t be happier with it to be honest.
Before the lock down, my day also included working for 5-6 hours with no distractions; 5 days a week. It was lovely, as distractions are notoriously difficult for me to recover from while I’m writing. Now my days include homeschooling children at various stages, and entertaining a stir crazy 5 year old who is all distractions.
My basic daily routine has not been affected too much, but my work routine shifted from writing daily, to being a teacher, and writing the occasional blog post. Meaning work productivity is at an all time low. I needed to find a way to incorporate more “distraction free” writing time into my day. However, distraction free is impossible to come by, and I have had to get creative. Mostly, I had to learn to hone stronger, more effective writing strategies and tools. I rely heavily on outlines to get me back on track right now.
This is a huge struggle for me. I am a hurricane of creativity, and project ideas; with almost zero organizational skills. Over the years I have learnt the value of note taking, outlines, and character sketches; but those lessons were hard fought. Now I have been forced to fine tune those skills. As a result my note taking has never been more detailed, and my outline structures have greatly improved. After 5 weeks, I must say I see a noticeable improvement in my distraction recovery time.
I have taken to setting a schedule for work each day in my google calendar. I alternate between research and various writing projects. I’ve learnt having multiple projects underway at once, actually decreased my stress. If I hit a wall, I can simply leave it for later and work on something else. My schedule is simple and repeats, but it works for keeping me on track.
Since I am trying to be more consistent with my posting. I have also written a list of topics to outline during ‘class time’, when all the computers are in use. My goal is to scheduled posts as I finish writing them. I will be posting once a week, on Friday for the foreseeable future. (If I can build up a good line of pending posts, I will have more time to work on other things, like my Pintrest marketing system, and starting a monthly podcast.)
( I may increase the frequency of posting to twice a week, depending how productive my writing gets. )
I am hoping by doing these things, I will improve my traffic, along with my writing. Ultimately increasing the size of my network, and marketing base.
I am happy to have some semblance of work order back in my life. It is a breath of fresh air which lifts the spirits, and helps me regain clarity, and focus. The set back teaches me it’s okay to stumble, as long as I don’t stay down long. If my foundation is strong, the rest will follow in time.
Thanks for reading!