I started writing a few years ago as a result of being a teacher in the Young Women's organization at church. The girls, 12-17 years old, all participate in "Personal Progress," a program with hundreds of activities designed to develop different virtues. These activities could be anything from reading the scriptures daily and recording what they learn to learning a new skill.
In addition, the girls are required to complete a ten-hour project for each of these virtues, and I'd often ask the girls about their progress. As a teacher, I was encouraged to work on my personal progress alongside the girls, and that was why, when an idea flashed through my brain, I picked up a pen and wrote it down. I already had the goal in place and the time had come to act on it.
Two years after beginning to write in earnest, and four years from that first sketch, I realize that my little idea has taken slightly more than ten hours to develop!
It can be done, and here are some things that have helped me.
- Track your progress. Whether you use a star chart or a marker on your bathroom mirror, write down your goals and what you do each day to meet that goal. It doesn't have to be number of words- that only worked for me for the first draft, but perhaps an amount of focused time? Perhaps it will be to mark up so many pages a day with tiny scribbles that seem perfectly legible until you try to decipher them a week later.
- You can write a paragraph in five minutes, and eventually you'll fill a book. It adds up. So don't waste your spare moments. Sometimes they're all we get.
- Eliminate the junk. I don't mean that you can't allow yourself to enjoy some leisure time- even TV can can be a nice break- but if you want to write, you have to give yourself the gift of time to write.
- Don't get upset if you mess up. Start again. Say it with me: Today is the first day of the rest of my life!
How do you stay focused on your goals, whether writing-related or not?
I hope that you all have had a wonderful 2010, that this coming year will find you well and happy. Enjoy this video--it got me a little pumped!
Glutton for Punishment?