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Getting consistent

Happy New Year!

I took time off over Christmas – both from blogging and also from work. It is always nice to break out of the regular routine and do things a bit differently. It also gave me time to reflect. Every year I set a resolution to finish the first draft of my next book during the year (whichever one I happen to be working on at the time). Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not. This year I have set that same ambition. Balance of Betrayal  came out in 2016. I want Age of Oppression to be published in 2017. The question is, what can I do differently to make sure that happens?

In the coaching group I’m a part of (see my blog Mi365 and Me) one of the themes at the moment is Rituals. What things do we do every day that are non-negotiable? Some are universal – around health and well-being, mainly – and others are those that are unique to me. These are the rituals which I have, which take me towards my goals and help me become the person I want to be. Some are simple – the first cup of tea in the morning is essential – and others more challenging – learning to meditate is a toughy for me. We all have them and they are the things that matter to us. What I did come to realise is that, at the moment, writing is not one of my rituals.

It occurred to me, during the Christmas break that, if I want Age of Oppression to be finished this year, I need to make working on it one of my daily rituals. Even if I only do five minutes or only write one sentence, that is still more than I’ll have done if I don’t get started at all.

So, about ten days ago, I started. I hadn’t really looked at the first draft for about six weeks (I’ve had a lot going on) and, on that first day, it was like torture. I’d lost my thread, didn’t like the way the plot was unfolding, felt lost and generally questioned my ability to write at all. The second day was a little better – still writing with gritted teeth but I was telling myself “If I can just write myself past this tough bit, I’ve got a good idea of the next section.” After that, I got back in the zone. Some days I get a lot done, some days I don’t do much. The important thing is that I am doing something every day.

Consistency really pays. Because I am doing a little every day, the flow of the text doesn’t get forgotten and I always know where I’m going next. What’s more, because I can see progress, I am motivated to make progress.

So, watch this space. Age of Oppression is on its way. 

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