Climbing Out of a Writing Hole

“How does a project get a year behind schedule? One day at a time.” ~~Fred Brooks (IBM computer software developer)

While I’m not behind a whole year on my current writing project, this question has been ricocheting around in my mind lately. I have writing deadlines stacked up for many months, for which I am truly grateful.

But I am sorely behind where I had hoped to be at this point. Some things happened which I could not have foreseen–like happens to everyone. That’s life. There’s probably a lesson there on building more “what if something happens?” time into my schedule.

Right now, I don’t really have the time to do some big analysis of how this happened. I just need to get dug out of this hole and back on schedule. But how?

Faster, More, Hurry!

Our tendency is to look at how behind we have gotten with our writing projections (including you ambitious writers who are doing NaNoWriMo this year) and determine to buckle down and write 10,000 words every day till we are caught up. Then by Day 3 we feel rotten from no sleep or exercise, by Day 6 we are sick, and Day 7 we throw up our hands in despair and take necessary time off.

That has been my usual “catch up” method in the past. And it doesn’t work. It has never worked! And yet that is my inner urge, even as I write this. Stress, stress, stress!

Another Way

But this time I have decided to do it another way. And the minute I made the decision, I noticed my stomach settled down, I stopped hunching over the laptop, and I began breathing deeply again instead of hyperventilating. I will be climbing out of this hole differently.

What will I do? Use my writing GPS system and “recalculate.” Pretend that today is my starting point and I am right on schedule today, then figure out how much I need to do daily to make my deadline. I am relieved to see that it’s not 10,000 words either. It’s not nearly as bad as I was figuring, in fact. That’s often the way it is.

One Day at a Time

The quote at the top of the page shows how we all get behind in our writing projects: one day at a time. But the answer to the problem is also in that quote. We climb out of the hole one day at a time.

And if I concentrate just on the amount I need to do today–and each day after this–then I’ll make the deadline. And I should stay healthy as well. Then I can go out and celebrate when I turn in the book!

This entry was posted in NaNoWriMo, psychology of writing, strategy, success, Uncategorized, writing challenges, writing habits and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Climbing Out of a Writing Hole

  1. I know the feeling; but, somehow it all works out. It’s getting over the feeling that it won’t that ties you in knots. Good luck. xo

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