In Write Every Day: How to Write Faster, and Write More, Cathy Yardley discusses different strategies to implement when establishing a writing routine. As usual with writing books, it’s targeted toward novelists1. Here are some of my highlights.
if you talk about something, it’s a dream… if you schedule it, it’s real.
I didn’t tell many people about this goal to write 100 posts in 100 days2. I also didn’t have a schedule my first few weeks. I had a post where I thought “oh just gotta fix a link and write the last few sentences”. Which was fine. But then a bunch of them piled up and I needed to track things.
I also didn’t really have a good place to store ideas. And had a handful of posts I knew I wanted to write ‘next’. Then I’d jump around between them or just get decision fatigue. With the schedule, I know what posts to focus on that day. And I can rest easy knowing that the others are somewhere in the future.
it takes approximately five finished manuscripts under your belt to gain a workable competency.
Workable competency. That’s a good way to put it. I’d love to be workably competent. Even at a very good pace, writing every day and finishing a manuscript every six months, that’s still 2.5 years. If I keep this pace up, I’ll hit workable competency around post #900.
By the end of this project, I worry that instead of having the experience of writing 100 posts, I’ll really have written my first post 100 times. With no improvement between the first and the last. That might actually be the case because I’m not revising and revising and revising and thinking hard to say things in fewer words.
On the other hand, I’m sure the 100th post will come easier and be a little more organized on the first pass. it’ll hopefully be slightly, slightly less *](http://franciscortez.com/two-crappy-pages/)[crappy*.
You don’t get a chance to write until you set the container. It creates a commitment, and it helps you get control of your day, rather than being at the mercy of it.
Something I enjoyed during my short stint with Morning Pages is the rule that you stop after three pages. No more and no less. You finish and move on with your day.
Early on, I was writing longer posts and not finishing things each day. In trying to fix that, I’ve been looking to split posts up if they get too long. I’ve adjusted too far on the other end so sometimes I’ve split a topic too small and don’t really have enough to say for something to stand alone.
Setting the container and moving that container to a specific time in the day makes things real. It reminds me of Cal Newport setting a flexible schedule for deep work.
“SMART” goals. That stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound.
Stretch and ‘SMART’—these two types of goals were my biggest takeaways from Charles Duhigg’s Smarter, Better, Faster. Making a conscious effort to set both has helped. The stretch goal is having a successful blog3. Here’s the breakdown for one of the ‘SMART” goals:
- Specific: Finish 100 posts in 100 days.
- Measurable: A post is ‘finished’ when it’s online. I learned a few weeks in that some posts felt ‘finished’ in Google Docs but there were still some stray links and images to add. Then they built up and I was about 85% done with a dozen posts. Meaning none of them were finished.
- Attainable: I’m currently on pace. I got in the hole early so am having to do a couple weeks with two posts each day.
- Time bound: 100 days.
- I wonder if there’s a giant pool of people reading books like these for NanoWriMo and things like that. ↩
- I told my girlfriend. I told some friends I’m trying to write. That’s pretty much it. ↩
- Though it took a few weeks to realize, oh, I’m blogging. And I’m still not completely sure what it will be about by the end of it. Though it’s starting to seem like it’s about writing and reading. ↩