A lot of times, I get the feeling like creative people only make blogs to complain about every little thing that isn’t going well in their lives. So, to counter that, here’s a post leaving a permanent record of something nice that happened. I think you might find it valuable.
For the past month, I’ve been consistently writing 1000 words a day, without fail, no matter what.
This dedication to consistency is what broke me out of a depressive state. But more on that another time.
It doesn’t matter how busy I am. It doesn’t matter if I don’t feel like it. It doesn’t even really matter which project I get the words down in. 1000 words of career-relevant fiction, meaning stuff I intend to publish.
In the beginning, it wasn’t actually that hard. I had the thought “Okay, this is work, but it’s not agonizingly difficult. I bet I can really keep this up! I can write 1000 words a day for the rest of my life. Hell, I can probably ratchet it up to higher daily amounts over time.”
This was obviously pretty exciting. Especially after a depressed lull of hardly any writing achievement over the prior months. It felt like the wheels were finally unstuck, like life was moving in the right direction.
Then, oh no, SPLAT.
I hit a wall over the past week. Every day, getting 1000 words was torture. I managed it, but it was the literal last thing I did before crashing in bed.
It wasn’t satisfying work, either. Each following day, I’d look back at what I wrote and end up using little of it. I had gotten the wheels moving again only for them to pointlessly spin in place. Now what, I thought.
Well, I didn’t take that as an excuse to take a break. I’ll tell you that.
I kept going. Learning a skill, building a habit, all of that stuff is messy. You run into roadblocks, sure, but that’s how you build momentum for when you’ve finally pushed through.
You see, most people give up when something gets hard. Doesn’t matter what it is, the behavior is the same. Once it’s getting harder instead of easier, they assume “Well, it’s not the right time for me to do this.” Or, if they had no serious passion for it, they decide “This isn’t something I was meant to do. I don’t have the talent.”
What people need to understand, what took me far too long to understand, is that learning comes in waves. It’s easier, then it’s harder, and back and forth. When something gets hard, it’s inevitably going to get easier again soon, as long as you stick with it and reach the required breakthrough.
So when most people give up when something gets hard, what they’re really doing is giving up right when they were about to succeed.
Yesterday was the last day of this word count slump. It was still rough going, getting started. I opened up the eighth and final episode of my Dystopian serial, Feedback, and started putting down words in an important scene. But then, once I had the scene more than halfway done, I realized the truth: I was struggling because I was subconsciously worried about this scene being difficult.
Once I got through most of it, I hit my word count in a few MINUTES. Then I powered along, because why not?
By the end of my session, I had gotten 3,000 words done that day.
All in exchange for sticking with it and not deciding “Eh, life is unpredictable, 1000 words a day isn’t for me.”
Just something to think about, the next time you’re hitting a slump with your own goals.
Learning is messy, and it comes in waves. You gotta learn to ride with the current.
Till next time.