This is the last week in January, and you only have seven days left to prepare for February’s Write by Midnight challenge. Over the last three weeks, you’ve set your goals and come up with a realistic writing schedule to help you meet them.
Now it’s time to share your goals. Telling someone else what you hope to achieve in February can give you an added sense of responsibility and help you rise to the challenge. Tell a friend or loved one about your goals. Post them here in the comments section. Tweet them using the hashtag #WriteByMidnight.
We also recommend writing down your goals and placing copies, along with your schedule, where you’ll see them every day. Put encouraging notes on your bathroom mirror, your computer, the refrigerator or your TV remote.
It might also help to tidy up your writing nook over the next week. For many, a clean work space is a motivating work space. And if it’s already tidy, you’ll have one less procrastination excuse when it’s time to get to work.
Finally, don’t forget your supplies. Sharpen pencils and stock up on pens and notebooks if you like to write by hand. Create a new folder in your computer files for the challenge. If you’re revising or hoping to make headway on a work-in-progress, gather together what you’ve already written so it’s available to you in one place when you need it. If you’re revisiting a shelved project, re-read your work so it’s fresh in your mind.
We’re in the final countdown, so let’s make the most of it.
Last week, in preparation for the upcoming Write by Midnight write-a-thon, you set your goals for the month of February and developed a tentative schedule for accomplishing them. For this week’s challenge, it’s time to test your plan. Over the course of the next week, try out your schedule to see if your daily and weekly objectives are realistic. Perhaps you want to revise 10 scenes next month. So see if you can revise two to three scenes this week. If you revise four, set your sights higher, and aim for 15 scenes. If you only revise one scene, you may need to find ways to fit more writing time into your day. Dedicating an extra 30 minutes to writing may require you to wake up earlier, for instance. To ease into that, try setting your alarm five minutes earlier than the previous day until you are able to wake up a half an hour earlier. Then use those precious minutes to write. Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals, however. A practical, but ambitious approach is the key to writing success.
Last week, in preparation for the upcoming Write by Midnight write-a-thon, you tracked how you spent your time each day. Hopefully, the time you invested in logging those minutes will pay off this week for the next challenge we now have for you.
First, analyze your findings. Did you discover that you spent more time than you thought on certain tasks? Did you gain some insight into how much – or little – time you’re working towards your writing goals? Are there ways you can steal a little extra writing time?
Next, define what you want to accomplish during Write by Midnight. Be specific about your writing goals. Do you hope to get in the habit of writing 500 words a day or writing for an hour each day? Do you want to complete a scene each day? Or, do you hope to have a first draft of your novel completed by the end of the month?
Once you have identified your writing goals, refer to your time log and figure out how you’ll use the time you have to meet those goals. Perhaps in logging your time, you discovered you have 50 minutes spread throughout your day that you’re not fully taking advantage of. Time yourself to see how many words you can cram into a minute. If your goal is to write 500 words a day, you can reach your goal in those 50 minutes by writing 10 words per minute. Even if you only have time to write for 10 minutes here and five minutes there, you’re likely to meet or surpass your goal once you figure out your game plan. So spend the upcoming week doing just that so you’ll be ready for success when Write by Midnight starts on Feb. 1.
This week, in preparation for Write by Midnight, you’ve been keeping track of the time it takes to perform your daily activities. In reviewing your log so far, when do you get the most writing done? Where? What are your biggest time wasters?