While will is strong, habits are formed

I’ve been working on developing better writing habits lately. I haven’t been the most organized or consistent of writers. I wrote in bursts and often complained about the lack of time available. No more.

Developing a habit takes roughly three weeks. A habit, like brushing your teeth or combing your hair, is something done in such repetition that to do otherwise feels unnatural. It’s not something we fret about not having the time for; we just do it.

I spent a few hours building a spreadsheet to track my writing statistics. It keeps me accountable, knowing that at the end of the day I need to enter my word count and it lets me see how my productivity changes over time. I’m not much of a math geek but I do love my statistics.

I set a weekly goal of 3,000 words. Over time I expect to raise this but I want to start out with reasonable goals and move up from there. This week (Monday-Sunday), I wrote 3,253 words. I averaged 465 words/day, and my most productive day was Saturday, with 1,046 words written. I’ve written all but two days this month, and those at the beginning. The going is strong.

During the CSSF Workshop in the summer of 2007 I outlined a SF alternate history story involving Nicola Tesla. I have a fascination with Tesla and wanted to do something challenging with that. I started writing the story around the beginning of October (pre-spreadsheet) and finished it on Saturday. The handwritten first draft ended up around 6,300 words, just 100 words shy of my original estimate. I’m pretty pleased by how it’s shaping up. I’m going to sit on it for a few weeks before typing it up and beginning the revision process.

I started work on my story for the Footprints anthology. Nothing like waiting until the end of the submission deadline to get a story ready. The guidelines are fairly narrow and it took a while for an idea to develop. I’ll be spending the next few weeks getting this story up to snuff before the deadline on November 15th.

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