I am always amazed at the ways that conversations can travel. A discussion of my mother somehow led to a comment about how I often let everything in my life come before my writing. And that comment led to a discussion about my goals and what I need to accomplish them. I now have a taskmaster.
Part of the beauty of NaNoWriMo was the deadline. And the fact that people were actually paying attention to see if I hit the deadline. I think many writers suffer from a lack of writing discipline. Not neccessarily because they lack discipline in general, but because so many of them have been writing for fun for so long. If writing is fun to me, it’s easier to sacrifice it when things “need to be done.” Diapers must be changed, dinner must be made, work must be done. And writing is always there in the background for “when I have time.” But that changes during NaNoWriMo. Writing jumps up a few notches. It becomes something I actively do. Which is why I wish so much that NaNoWriMo was every month. And not in the way that I could just decide to write 50,000 words every month. But in the way that there is someone watching to see that I do it.
It was the same way when I was writing The Mansion. I published a schedule for when I would upload episodes and I felt obligated to stick to it because people were watching. People were reading. People were telling me that they were waiting for the next upload. And that was the first novel I ever finished a first draft on. So I, apparently, need the constant eyes on me to give me someone to be accountable to other than me.
So now, I will be. And perhaps 2009 will be my most productive year yet. My friend Shawn, who once answered to what he called his “writing dominatrix” has volunteered to serve in a similar capacity for me. The result for him was to finish a novel in a month, something he likely wouldn’t have done without her. For me, my goal is a little bit more long term, but could be helped in the same way.
Starting with the second Sunday in January, I will be sending him a document every week. I will be required to send him 3000 words of writing each week. One week out of every month can be spent on editing, so I’ll have to send him two documents. I suspect that once I get in the habit of carving out writing time every week, I’ll find that I don’t need him anymore. But someone told me once that it takes 16 weeks to create a habit. So I’ll at least be sending him stuff to read for a few months. And hopefully this will be what I need to permanently alter the way I look at my writing. I’m ready to go from being a woman who writes in her spare time to a writer who writes all the time. And finishes things.