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Philosophical Monday – The Tri-Weekly Habit: Rough Drafts And Other Necessities

roughdraftSo trying a new habit for 21 days, went MUCH better than only dedicating a week. I feel recommitted to exercising, and I also clocked over 60 pages on my new novel, which is pretty stunning. I won’t claim that all of these pages are good or anything, but like I was telling Gudrun from “Secret Life of a Nerd Girl” the other day, finishing the rough draft and having faith that you’ll be able to fix all of your project’s problems later is the hardest bit of writing a novel. Everything else is candy compared to that first long haul through the writing desert.

But on to the next 21 days, which begins tomorrow. I’m getting a little burned out on writing every single day, so I think now is a good time to double up my efforts. The worst thing you can do in my opin is to take a vacation from a good habit that’s getting you down. If you really want a habit to stick, get grim about it, and recommit, I say. So for the next 21 days, I’m vowing to work on my second novel for 40 minutes a day, which wouldn’t have sounded like much to the more optimistic version of myself 3 years ago when I started Molly Ringwald Ending. Back then I would have  wanted to write for 3 hours a day, like Stephen King, who has a wife that took care of all of his kids and all of his needs and no other projects on his plate during his most prolific years, when he established the good habit of writing for three hours a day. However, 3 years ago, when I started my first (readable) novel, I was never able to keep up with a full-time job and such an ambitious goal. I’d get upset after a couple of days of trying then I wouldn’t write for 2 or 3 weeks, then I’d have a couple of 3-hour bursts, then I’d get down, and then I wouldn’t write for 3 to 4 weeks, and hence  a year and a half later, I finally had a rough draft, which it then took another year and a half to rewrite, because I wouldn’t fully learn the value of “slow and steady” wins the race until … about 21 days ago.

So if you’re one of the many artists that read this blog and you can’t say that you written 60 pages or done whatever artistic equivalent  in the last 21 days, think about committing to working on your art for 20 minutes a day starting tomorrow. You’ll be surprised at how much more you accomplish by not going big.

My lifestyle tri-weekly habit is going to be a lot harder, though. Since CH is on a New Year’s diet, and I can’t join him, since I’m pregnant and dieting isn’t advised, I’ve decided to support him by giving up spending money on anything that’s not a necessity for the next 21 days (with a special exception for my birthday, which is next week). Yes, I’m fairly sure that I’m going to dislike this habit big-time, but I’m committing anyway. And I’ll touch base to whine next week. Meanwhile, has anyone else ever gone on a restrictive spending diet like this? If so, leave me your tips in the comments.

100% Resolute,