The good news is that 2019 isn’t necessarily the last year of this decade. There’s a debate about whether or not the decade runs from 2010 to 2019 or 2011 to 2020. You can read it here in the New York Times.
Me? I’m going with 2011 to 2019. For one thing, I count starting with 1 not 0. If you do it differently, fine. But that’s how I do it.
Also, this will give me one more year to accomplish GREAT THINGS this decade. You don’t have to agree with me, but if you do you still have another year to make this decade sing.
These five suggestions can help.
1. Give yourself physical space. I have an office in my home. Not everyone is this lucky. One friend writes in a coffee shop, but I find that too distracting. Another friend uses the study rooms at our local library. She goes first thing in the morning and for an hour or more (depending on whether or not a line develops) she gets a table, chairs, outlets and a whiteboard. Not a bad deal for a freebie.
2. Give yourself time. Writing buddy Margo Dill came home from the 20Books to 50K conference inspired and ready to write. She works full time and is a single parent but gets up first thing in the morning to write. She’s reported writing 37,000 words in 29 days. Wow! A lot of people question the advice that you need to write every day but Margo’s word count shows what you can do with a daily time slot and a plan.
3. Give yourself a plan. Sit down at the same time every day and you will develop a writing habit. But you have to add a plan for that word count to really add up. With a plan you’ll know where you are going and what you need to write about next.
4. Give yourself a retreat. But a plan doesn’t always help. Sometimes we need to step away for more than an hour at the library to make progress. Whether you go alone or gather together a group of friends, you can create your own writing retreat. Religious retreat centers often offer a no-frills or low-frills place to stay with meals. Space and meals served frees you up to write.
5. Give yourself a break. Even when you give yourself space, time and a plan, there are days when the words simply will not flow. Pay attention. Do you need to recharge? Is it time for self-care? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, give yourself a break and do what you need to do for you.
You’ve got two weeks to think it over. If you enter 2020 with even a nebulous plan, you have time to make the last year of this decade work for you and your writing.
To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards' writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey. Sue is also the instructor for Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins January 6th, 2020.