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#FirstDraft60 Day 18 — Planning for Challenges and Obstacles

Friday, September 18, 2015

#FirstDraft60 |

  • One of the kids gets a stomach bug that ends up getting passed around the whole family. You’re nursing them and/or in bed yourself for five days.
  • Your college girlfriend’s fiancé walked out on her at the altar and she needs you to go to Cancun with her so that she doesn’t lose the money spent on a honeymoon.
  • You get offered the promotion of a lifetime. The only catch is that you now have to relocate three hundred miles away at the end of the month.
  • You just don’t feel like writing today.

  • When Life Gets in the Way of Writing
    Yesterday, we pulled out our calendars and started working on our writing schedules for the 30 days in October on which we’ll actually be writing our first drafts. But no matter how carefully we plan, we know that something is going to come up to interfere, it always does.

    Okay. So what are we going to do? Quit?

    Of course not.

    There are, obviously, going to be things that come up in the thirty-day writing period that are beyond your control—things that take precedence over writing and require your time and attention. But it’s how you handle getting back on track with your writing that will be the key to success or failure.

    If it’s something that just knocks you out of the (writing) game for a day or two, that’s going to be easier to catch up with than the stomach bug laying you out flat for five days.

    Because we’ve set so much stock in doing this challenge—in completing that first draft—losing even a single day of writing time may seem like an insurmountable obstacle. Especially if you know from creating your writing calendar that you already might not have time to write every single one of those thirty days.

    So what are you going to do? Quit?

    Of course not!

    Setting Goals = Risking Failure
    Yes, by setting goals, you’re making yourself promises. You promise yourself that you are going to take this journey and that you’re going to help yourself succeed.

    However, unless you’ve signed a contract that requires you submit your manuscript on October 31, there is no penalty for modifying your word-count goal in order to account for the roadblocks and obstacles that are going to come up.

    But the only way to ensure you fail is to not even try.

    For anyone who’s set a self-imposed deadline and missed it. For anyone who’s stated a certain number of words to be written every day and not done it. For anyone who’s submitted manuscripts to editors and/or agents and been rejected. For anyone who’s joyously told family and friends that we’ve decided to write novels and get them published, only to have those same people lose faith in—or even mock—you when you can’t show tangible results. We know what failure feels like, and we don’t want to be there again. So our hearts and minds tell us it’s easier not to risk that failure. To quit while we’re ahead.

    What Do I Do if I Need to Change My Goal?
    Writing down your goals—handwritten in a journal, typed on the computer, emailed to yourself as a list, however you want to do it—makes them real. By having them written down, it gives you the opportunity not only to go back and check things off that you’ve accomplished or completed, but also to remind yourself of the other steps you promised yourself you’d be taking.

    Just because you’ve decided you want to try to reach a certain word count, and you’ve written that goal down (whether by sharing it here, on your own blog, on Facebook, etc.), doesn’t mean that it’s carved in stone—as challenges and obstacles arise, as it becomes apparent that the daily word-count goals you set don’t work, then, by all means, re-evaluate and, if necessary, change your goals. But when you change them, make sure to write the new/revised goals down, too—after all, how will you measure your success if you don’t have it written down so you can check/cross it off?

    What are you going to do when obstacles and challenges arise during this challenge?

    1. Lisa Jarvis permalink
      Friday, September 18, 2015 8:41 am

      First off I want to make it clear – goal or not, I’d go to Cancun. 😉 In the event I lose some days to whatever circumstance is thrown my way, I plan on adding time onto the end of the challenge unless I am able to catch-up before that. My husband and friends already know I’m not planning anything for the first week of November just in case.



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