One of the things that I, as a writer, try to do, is write every single day. I have a file where I keep track of my daily word count, and I try to make sure that each of my writing sessions is at least four hundred and fifty words long. Ideally, I’d like them all to be much longer, but… well, you have to put the minimum somewhere, and for the time being I chose 450.
But, inevitably, there are days when I don’t have writing sessions. Sometimes I’m working on editing something. Sometimes I’m critiquing stuff for friends. Sometimes I’m helping someone move. These things happen, nothing you can do about that. The problem is that I know myself. If I let myself get away with really and truly missing a writing session from time to time, then, very slowly, I’m going to start increasing the list of things that are allowable. So I have a sort of ‘carry over’ rule for myself. I can have more than one ‘session’ for day, so long as each session is distinct (ie, I can’t just sit down, bang out nine hundred words on a story and call it two sessions), and by the end of the month, I’m all caught up. Any longer than that and I’m just going to let myself get farther and farther behind until… no list, no accountability, no point.
A habit I’ve found myself getting into lately, when I don’t have the energy to work on one of my serious projects, it to start a story, write few hundred words, then save it with no intention of ever coming back to it.
Part of me thinks that this is a terrible habit to get into. I remember when i was just starting as a writer, I couldn’t finish a story. I had a file just stuffed full of false starts. So many stories that never went anywhere.
On the other hand, I’m not the novice I once was. I have, in fact, finished many stories, both short and long. And sometimes these false starts are useful. Sometimes they tell us something, give us ideas. Sometimes they can help us realize the direction our writing should be going in.
Still, there could be problems in the long run if I don’t make myself write with purpose at least part of the time.