Yeah, okay, so sorry if some of you now have Salt & Pepper's song in your head. But today I wanted to talk about pushing ourselves--in this case for writing, but it's true for most everything.
It's easy to believe we are driving ourselves as hard as we can. That we're doing the most we can do. This is especially true if we're trying to do more than one thing with the bulk of our time--in my case, a full time day job and building a writing career.
I would love to say that I am a naturally driven person, that I set goals before the sun comes up and have them weeping in the corner before breakfast.
But that would be a lie.
I'm naturally very lazy. REALLY lazy. Unless I'm trapped somewhere I don't want to be, I am never bored simply because I am that good at doing nothing.
Yet, I have written more words since the end of August than I probably did for the six months prior. And, as noted in prior blogs, it's not because my day job slowed down--I work at a college and the start of the semester is intense.
It's because I made a conscious effort to stretch myself, to increase my writing goals in the face of intense madness at the day job. I started with a goal of 1500 words a day in The Sapphire Manticore (the fantasy series), and if I hit that, I could start working on Victorious Dead (space opera trilogy) at 500 words a shot.
With a few weeks of that under my belt, I increased to 1600 a day--these are work days mind you, the weekends are between 2000 and 3000 depending on what is going on. But I am writing every day. If I'm sick, I might write less, but I am still writing something. It keeps me set in my worlds, so even when I'm not working on them, part of my brain is thinking about them.
I've been at 1700 words since October first, and am now going to bump it to 1800 (aka about 6 pages a day). I am actually kind of surprised at this pace, but I've noticed that I feel much better when the words are done. And I feel better about the books in question.
When we push ourselves, even just a little at a time, we stretch what we're able to accomplish. Right now, stand up. stick your arms out from your sides, and twist one direction. Go as far as you comfortably can. Note how far you go, then turn back to where you started. Now do it again. Your "as far as you can go" is a little further. Because you stretched yourself, and can now reach further.
That's why things like NaNoWriMo (Google it ;)) can really help some folks, they make you stretch further than you thought capable.
Pushing what you think you can do by constantly stretching just a tiny bit further will get you closer to your goal. And will help you realize just what you're capable of.
If it works for a lazy person like me, it will work for anyone.