The other day in my Bestselling Author Mastermind group one of the members posted a thread asking about how to best track the progress she’s been making on her revisions. She mentioned how many people recommend tracking your daily word count, but that with revisions it’s harder to do that because sometimes you’re revising a scene and the word count doesn’t really change much.
I then commented and said that I don’t track word count or page count or anything like that. I used to try to do that, but it was too overwhelming and, honestly, de-motivating for the days when I didn’t hit the word count, even though I was still writing.
Now I just use the DONE app to track whether or not I actually work on my fiction each day. Just having worked on my fiction in some way, shape or form each day is enough for me. I’m over being rigid about my daily habits.
When I mentioned this to my BAM member, she commented back, sounding completely relieved that she could just track whether or not she worked on her revision each day, and not have to worry about tracking the specific word count.
I commented back and said: You get to make the rules.
And I think that’s something we tend to forget about… that we get to make the rules for ourselves. We don’t have to go along with how others do things, even if most other people are doing it that way.
Don’t want to track your daily word count? Don’t track it. Track what feels good to you.
I used to be super rigid about my daily tasks and would give myself a hard time if I didn’t do it perfectly or if I felt like I didn’t get enough done. But all that berating did was make me not feel like doing the things I was trying to build daily habits around.
Because it’s no fun to feel like you’re failing every day, especially at things you’ve tasked yourself with.
So a few months ago I gave myself permission to stop being so rigid. To just have my daily list of the Top 5 things I wanted to get done each day, and as long as I did something related to each of those tasks, I could check it off and count it as having done it.
Progress was still being made, every single day, even when I didn’t do something major in each area.
And that’s the important thing, right? That progress is being made. That you’re 1% further today than you were yesterday.
Success in life isn’t about making giant leaps every day (although that’s one way to do things, and, of course, it does work). It’s about taking baby steps every day in the direction of your dreams.
Baby steps are still steps, and while it might take you a little longer to get where you want to go, you will get there if you just keep on baby-stepping (just like in, What About Bob? –baby steps!!).
That’s what I’ve been doing with my Daily Top 5 for the last few months, baby-stepping. Working on each task a little bit every day. Making progress. Getting shit done.
Success is more about consistency than anything else.
If you can be consistent with taking baby steps, you will arrive exactly where you want to. You will finish and you will make progress.
But if you’re constantly telling yourself that you have to live by someone else’s rules or standards, that’s only gonna make you feel like a failure or like you’re not good enough. Neither of which is very motivating.
And the truth is, you don’t have to. You get to create your own rules, about whatever you want.
Just because most writers track their daily word count or page count, doesn’t mean you need to. Just because most writers use Scrivener or Final Draft, doesn’t mean you need to. Just because most writers take years to write and finish and publish a book, doesn’t mean you need to.
You get to decide.
You get to choose.
You get to make up the rules that you live and operate by.
It’s all up to you.
But this is something I’m constantly having to remind myself about. Because it’s very easy to slip into living someone else’s life or someone else’s rules, sometimes without even realizing it.
And especially if you were raised with said rules or if you grew up watching other people live said rules.
Still, doesn’t mean you have to follow them though. You don’t. You never had to and you never will have to.
This is what life on your own terms is all about.
You make the rules that you get to live by. And fuck everyone and everything else.
Dream life or bust,
P.S. Isn’t it time for you to FINISH what you’ve started?! Join myself and Editor Sarah Fox for Revise Your Damn Novel: 5 weeks of focused revision time so you can get your story into a more final state and then either hit “publish” or finally send it off to an editor for feedback. >> Full details and sign up here: www.jenniferblanchard.net/revise