10 June 2021: The Power of Consistency
Every writer has a weakness, whether they're aware of it or not, and I know one of my biggest problems is consistency. Writing consistently, reading consistently, editing consistently—how does a person do all that and maintain their mental health?
Spoiler: I do not have an answer to this.
The fact is that some people are better at establishing and keeping habits, striking a healthy balance, and knowing when to put the work down. It's a superpower. So what can we learn from them?
First off, budget your time. Don't expect to accomplish everything in one sitting; instead, focus on one or two things for the time interval. If you set up weekly or monthly goals, this is a good time to consider when you want to accomplish the task and what is feasible for you.
Second, listen to your body. It's one thing to not want to work, but it's something different if you're mentally/physically drained. Take care of yourself and you'll see it reflected in your work.
Third, set up rewards for yourself! That's the trick with positive reinforcement: the addition of a preferred item to encourage a behavior. So what does that mean? If you write X words or edit X pages, treat yourself to an ice cream or a shopping trip or watch your favorite show, etc. You've earned it!
Fourth, get an accountabili-buddy. Writing groups, critique partners, friends, spouses, whatever—if you need to get something done and so do they, set up work-dates. Encourage one another, get some work in, and be glad you're not working alone.
Obviously, there's more lessons to be learned, but these are what's helping me right now.
If you have other advice, feel free to drop them in the comments!