Craft,  Creativity,  Discipline,  Motivation,  Organization,  Time Management

Fantastic Fridays: A Tiny Plan For A Small Writing Victory

When we think about our writing goals, we tend to think big.

We set our eyes on the prize – the finished story, the published book – and we forget the small steps that lie between our starting point and the prize.

You can’t write a story without writing a bunch of paragraphs. A paragraph is not possible without sentences. A sentence requires words. Words start from ideas…and so on. There are all kinds of small victories to plan for and celebrate on the path between our first word and our finished story.

If you are trying to write but the thought of the “prize” is too daunting, perhaps you need to think smaller.

Your consistent writing habit will be built on a series of smaller writing sessions. They won’t happen all at once and they won’t necessarily be very long, especially at first. However, creating a habit of small sessions (with the option to increase them as your habit takes hold) is a great way to keep your writing brain in gear and to keep your project moving.

And the best way to create that habit? Start with a plan!

Image is primarily to highlight the post title. It shows a black and white photo of a long-haired person holding a large clock. The image is mostly covered by a beige rectangle in the foreground that features the title "Fantastic Fridays: A Tiny Plan For A Small Writing Victory" written in white letters with the author's name written beneath the square.

Maybe at this point you’re wondering…

“What do you mean by a small session, Christine? How can I plan for one?”

That really depends on your project and the time you have available.

Since everyone’s projects and schedules are different, let’s work from a model. You don’t have to follow this one exactly, you can tweak it to work better for you.

Grab a piece of paper or a nice, clear screen and write this at the top:

A Tiny Plan For A Small Writing Victory

Then, answer the following questions as quickly as you can.

(The list of questions will also be pasted below to make it easier to copy them into your document.)

1) What writing time can you guarantee yourself next week?

We like to use 10 minutes as a base unit around here, but if that’s daunting, go for 5 or 2 – whatever feels easy.

2) When and how is that writing time going to happen?

Be very specific about this. Will you sit down at the computer after supper on Wednesday for 5 minutes? Will you use voice dictation in the car on Monday after you go to the bank? Will your write in a notebook on Friday morning while the kettle boils? The details are up to you, the point is to be as clear as possible about the conditions of your when and how.

Note: If something goes awry with your when or your how, make the next possible appointment with yourself with a new when and how.

3) What are you going to write?

If you have a work in progress, what specific thing are you going to write about during this session? If you are writing for practice, what prompt or idea are you going to follow during your writing time? You’ll want to be as clear as possible about this, too. You don’t want to spend any of your precious writing time making these decisions.

4) How can you clear the path to that writing time?

You have already started to clear your path by identifying the what, when, and how but there might be more to it than that. Do you need to make sure that your notebook is in the right spot? Or, if your computer is slow to start, can you start it before supper and then put it in sleep mode until your writing time? Do you need to make a ‘do not disturb’ sign? Perhaps you need to plan to meditate before you start? Maybe you need to save a specific episode of a TV show for your kids to watch so you can improve your chances of avoiding interruption?

5) How will you celebrate?

Plan your small writing victory celebration in advance. Will you give yourself a gold star? Have a special treat? Take a little extra downtime? It’s up to you, of course, but the key is that you take this victory seriously. Even though it is a small victory, it is still a victory and it is a step toward your bigger goal. Your celebration will contribute to your momentum.

Also, please note your word count as part of your celebration. As your habit builds, it will be great to have a record of any changes in your writing speed.

6) What do you need for next time?

Save this question for after your session!

Once you have scored one small writing victory, you will want to create the conditions for more. Make some notes about anything that helped you keep this commitment to yourself, or about you want to do differently next time to make things easier.

Keep Adding Small Victories

It may seem a little silly to make a written plan for a 10 minute writing session but if you are having trouble fitting your writing into your week, a plan can make all the difference.

And, of course, you don’t have to do it forever, you will probably only need the written plan until your habit is established. (Although it’s a good tool to have for any future challenge!)

Once you have carved out that time for yourself and you have claimed your small victory, you can keep building on it. Perhaps you will start with short weekly writing sessions and build to multiple sessions a week but you have to start somewhere.

Might was well try making a tiny plan for this initial small victory!


For copy and paste purposes:

A Tiny Plan For A Small Writing Victory

1) What writing time can you guarantee yourself next week?
2) When and how is that writing time going to happen?
3) What are you going to write?
4) How can you clear the path to that writing time?
5) How will you celebrate?
6) What do you need for next time?

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