At the beginning of 2016, I knew I needed to start writing more. At that point, I didn’t have a job yet. A lot needed to change, and the only way I could think to get myself started – and stay on track – was to start writing down everything I wrote and published.
I’m not really sure why I started keeping track of every single article or number of words I wrote, specifically. It’s become a little much. The document is now 55 pages long, which includes every publication I have pitched to, published for, names and dates of articles and number of words.
There’s really no need to keep doing this – I’ve now worked my way up to writing full-time, which means I gather a lot of my basic motivation from an “I have to do this or else” mindset. But I keep doing it. Every single article I write goes into that document. I’ve started using it as a place to keep my ideas until I’m ready to work them out, which is one reason why it’s gotten so long. I have a lot of ideas.
I would recommend doing this, even if you don’t normally keep track of your writing. If I go into the document now, I can see all of the publications I’ve pitched to and been rejected from, who has hired me, who I still have the option to contact if I ever need to – it’s all there in one place. When I don’t feel like writing, I can open that document and see everything I’ve accomplished (it’s literally called “2016 writing accomplishments” on my desktop). It makes me feel more confident. Less like I’m going to fail if I try writing just one more thing before calling it a day.
Figure out what motivates you – even if it’s weird or seemingly pointless. Because in those moments you don’t want to keep going, you need something to remind you it’s worth trying harder. You need that push, and often, it needs to come from you.
Do you have a method for keeping up your writing momentum when life gets stupid? What’s your strategy?
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.