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My (limited) Public Accountability:

26. Set up public accountability. Blog about it, post on a forum, email your commitment and daily progress to friend and family, post a chart up at your office, write a column for your local newspaper (I did this when I ran my first marathon). When we make it public — not just the commitment but the progress updates — we don’t want to fail.

from Zen Habits

In an attempt to move (yet another) novel attempt beyond the 5/7 complete then dump stage I’ve been surfing writers’ blogs (yes, another procrastination diversion!) One I kept coming back to was Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits & I liked it enough to get his book The Power of Less.

My problem is not that I don’t like writing but rather that there seem so many fascinating things out there to read/write/do/write/love/write about that I don’t focus and finish anything. And I want to do more than write books–I want to get back to a regular yoga practice, my regular tapas minimums, meditation, pranayama… I want to explore vegetarian local produce cooking, sprout my own beans, grow my own veg with my homemade worm balls, swim more, cycle more, blade more, get back to drawing & painting (walking the dogs I see so many things I want to ‘capture’) and of course I want to train the doggies up till they are comfortable with visitors & other dogs…

To make time for these things I really wanted to do I’ve cut down on doing things I didn’t really want to do/didn’t really enjoy doing even if I liked the people involved. I like to think I would be a friend in times of need but I’m discovering I Hate life-sucks-let’s-go-shop/eat small talk!
The writing has been going pretty well (though the asana practice has been lame since the last gut bleeder two weeks ago–oh yes, another big goal is to be HEALTHY & Fit!)

But all these goals were jostling for space & priority. I must say I’ve been happy, very happy over the past few months. The only difficulty might be feeling too happy and non-accomplishing.

From Zen Habits I like the idea of 1) Turning goals into Habits 2) Focusing on one Habit at a time and 3) Continuing with previously formed habits once they’re ‘fixed’ and going back to form more.

So I’m starting with this latest (3rd) draft of the Current Book, the one I started after attending the Patrick Gale/Suchen Lim writing workshop in February with a lead character triggered by watching TNS’ Model Citizens in early March. I’m at 22,000 words right now and I want to reach 70,000 words by the end of June.

It doesn’t sound too difficult but I don’t want to lose how well the rest of my life is balanced out right now.

I’m aiming for 5,000 words/week (doesn’t sound like much but the challenge for me is to stop my editing which can cut word down to zero in a day!)

Word Count: 22 807 will break for lunch & try to do some more writing before going cycling later!
Had a great time cycling with Ivy… & got down 23,460 words to meet my day’s quota!
Now I’m going dogwalking!!!

3 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for your kind words. And the hugs. Yes, I (sort of) learned the importance of that “vomit draft”. The hard way; via about 5 months of Writer’s Block. These days I maintain a “cold storage” file where I dump everything which doesn’t seem to be working, in order to avoid spazzing out in front of my Mac. Psychologically, it is easier for me than simply deleting. And that cold storage file has turned out to be a valuable resource; sometimes I will find stuff there which can be used in a different part of Vol. 2, or even in Vol. 3. It took me the longest time to learn that when the vomit draft is a good one, it takes almost no time at all to polish it, and I — literally — can just move paragraphs about like lego bricks and tweak the vocabulary. But when the vomit draft is a baddie, no amount of spazzing at the keyboard of my Mac can salvage it. Thank you for sharing your insights. Take care — Andrew

  2. FIVE THOUSAND WORDS A WEEK? Okay, I know now that I am definitely the slowest “writer” in the history of humanity. Aaarghhh! I just spent two days farting about with re-writes of… 5,000 words. I think I rewrite every page five times, which brings home the point you make about having to stop the editing. Ms Yu, your life and your values sound so healthy and productive. Thank you for sharing your experience with wannabe writers like me. All the best for your painting, blading, yoga, cooking, writing, veggie cultivation with “homemade worm balls”, and “just being”… ((((( HUGS ))))) — Andrew

    • Hugs to you too! The re-writing/editing is something I have major difficulties with but I’m telling myself to get this ‘vomit draft’ out first & then I’ll put on my editor’s specs & slice through it. Good luck to you too! (& I think you’re definitely more than a ‘wannabe’ writer… ebooks are going to be a Big part of the future & you’re in there already!)

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