Reaching your writing goals by cheating

By CBramkamp Newbie Guide, Newbie Writers Podcast, Writing Encouragement, Writing Tips Comments Off on Reaching your writing goals by cheating

There is something delicious about cheating –  cake is sweeter, filched fries are saltier, stolen moments have a category all their own.

And setting up a rigid schedule for your writing, then cheating to get ahead, can be just the system you need to finish a looming (huge, unwieldy) project.

I scheduled my  Cheap Retreat for a week in August.  I created a daily calendar of projects to make sure I spent each day working towards three project goals:

  • Transcribe 100 episodes of Newbie Writer Podcast for a book
  • Start transcribing and applying all the good feedback from the Beta reading of Future Girls.
  • Submit poems to three publications/contests.

I created a sheet that sketched out the hours to work per day, the goals, and how many pages, or how much time I expected to devote to each project.  I created the whole grid by hand using colored markers. This helps me visualize what I should be working on each day, and it’s easy to mark off each job with a satisfying X.

Work Schedule

Once I have the goals broken down into daily tasks, I establish the rewards: reading, swinging in the hammock, glass of wine,new clothes, dinner out.

I always follow through  with the reward, if I don’t, I’ll start allowing others to disappoint me because I’ve become used to it.  So I strive to make the rewards low-cal.

Each day I planned to:

  • Spend 2 hours a day working on Future Girls (page count is difficult at this time, so I’m sticking with a time limit)
  • Transcribe 10 episodes of Newbie Writers Podcast
  • Submit poems to one contest or collection.

Lest you think – wow, she’s pretty lazy, allow me to explain that my retreat is only 10 doors away from my needy mother.

Now that I have a perfect system: I cheat.

I cheat as soon as I can, thinking that if I transcribe 10 Newbie Writer’s episodes right now, I won’t need to do them on Wednesday – the final day of my retreat.  If I submit poetry now, I can spend 1/2 an hour in the hammock as soon as I arrive at my retreat house.

So, before I even arrive at the retreat, I’ve already transcribed 30 episodes  and  submitted poetry to 3 outlets.  Worth a whole afternoon with a book unrelated to my field of study.

I do not know why cheating (essentially on myself) is so motivating, but instead of feeling bogged down by obligation –  A daily list helps energize me.  If I can do 10 episodes, how about five more?  If I can spend two hours working on a book, how about another hour today so I can relax tomorrow?

When I feel overwhelmed  this system has worked every time as a way to get a project completed.

It absolutely works for me, maybe it will work for you.

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