What makes the difference?

What's the difference?

What’s the difference?

A little while ago, I put the final edits on the second manuscript I’ve been working on as part of the Chapter Book Challenge this month. I haven’t been this productive on a book for quite a while, so I started thinking – what is the difference now?

September hasn’t been any less busy in my day job, dealing with kids, or anything else I normally deal with. If anything, this past week has been busier as I’ve been to a two day conference, and had a meeting for work on Tuesday afternoon. I am still getting the same amount of sleep as usual, and been getting to the gym.

What is the difference this month? This is what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Deadline – working during a challenge gives me a deadline for my work. I set a goal for that month and don’t want to admit that I didn’t achieve it. I was devastated in March when I didn’t complete my goal.
  • Routine – I’m not one who thrives on routine, at least not as much as some others. Recently I’ve been editing during Dr Who (though it’s recently finished and I’m trying to work out what to do next…). Having a set amount of time that is short, has been helping a lot. Even on days when I don’t get anything done during that time, I am making it up at other times.
  • Limited Time – as mentioned in the last point, I set myself a 30-45 minute window to work each day. It may seem like a short period of time, but it works for me as it’s do able. I work during school hours, after school there are kids who need to go to activities, have help with homework, dinner that needs to be made, and so on. Setting a short time each day is much easier on the timetable than setting a longer period and stressing about fitting it in.
  • Changing my environment – my kids think I’m crazy, but I’ve been moving furniture around. I have plans for a proper writing space in the lounge room and I’m moving things to make way for the desk my brother will be making for me (check out his business on Facebook if you need something). Knowing that things are getting into shape is also helping keep me on track, almost as if I need to get more writing & editing done to deserve a new desk…
  • Reading – this may sound odd, but I’ve been taking more time out lately for reading. This month, I’ve finished two books, and making this time is helping with writing too.
  • Colouring – I’m not usually one to jump on a bandwagon, but on a whim I bought an adult colouring book from the supermarket. Colouring is fun and it’s taking me away from my computer for a while and helping clear my mind so I get focus on my books.
  • Exercise – after a long break, I’ve started back at the gym. The weather is also getting better and I’ve been riding again. I believe this is also helping keep me motivated.

My challenge now is to keep this up once the challenge is over… with Swallow Me, NOW! I decided I wanted a book launch for my birthday last year, so had a definite deadline, maybe I need to keep doing that. For me, I think the deadline is the thing that really keeps me on track.

What things do you do to keep motivated and on track with your writing and editing? Please share as I know this is something we all struggle with.

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