In October I joined a 30 Day Writing Challenge,
run by two Story Grid editors, Valerie Francis and Rebecca Monterusso. To anyone out there who write, this might seem odd to do right before NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and to those of you who don’t you might ask why I don’t already have a daily writing habit. I’ve been at this for a few years now, what’s the holdup?
The answer to the latter is life mostly. Having kids can put a serious kink in even the best-laid plans. I’m finally starting to feel better after having my third baby (a little over a year and a half ago). So it was time to get back into the meat and potatoes of this job and get my stories moving again.
I chose the 30 day challenge becuase there is some science behind it. There are a few books out there on studies that showed if you could stick with something for 22 days you’d successfully formed a habit. So 30 is a safe bet to make a change. It’s not easy, especially around day 15 when fatigue really settles in. But it’s worth it. Becuase I’m now 10x more likely to hit my NaNoWriMo goal. I’ve already gone through the fatigue and have written consistently. I’m excited to work on my story for 30 consecutive days. Who knows maybe I’ll end up with a workable draft instead of pile of poop I have to sort through later.
As of Tuesday the 30th, I will have written every day for 30-days
I haven’t written fiction every day and that’s an adjustment I’d like to make in the future but I’ve so much for my career this month that I’m very happy with myself. By writing every day I’ve made progress in leaps and bounds. Arrested is almost ready for rerelease (my deadline for the draft is 10-31-18). Bite Me Once (my werewolf PNR is well on its way. And I’ve written consistent blog posts and started working on guest blog content for other blogs to lead people back to my nonfiction site. This is all huge for my business. Both author wise and Book Launch Coach wise.
In November, I’m going to start a new daily habit
Now that my career is on the right track, I’m going to make a change for my health. I started running a while back and I was posting to Instagram every day when I got up at 5 am before the run and after the run, I was posting to a fitness group. After losing 15 lbs in a week (I still had and have a lot of weight from my pregnancy) I hurt my foot and could barely walk around let alone run. So I stopped and its been nagging at me ever since.
Trouble is, our elliptical is in the basement and with fall comes cold cold weather and I know myself well enough to know that I will not go down in the cold basement at 5 in the morning (or earlier) to run. So instead I found short yoga video’s on YouTube. I created a playlist of 30 videos and I’ll be adding a morning yoga habit to my routine. And I can do them in the livingroom. Next to the pellet stove (but not too close).
Setting myself up for success
Like I mentioned in my Discipline Equals Freedom post, discipline is like a muscle. You have to work it out to keep it strong. When you just start out though, its easy to give up. It’s easy to give in to that little voice in the back of your head that tells you it’s ok to just turn your alarm off and go back to sleep, its OK to skip your work out, or eat an entire box of donuts. Becuase you haven’t built up the strength to push through yet. And everytime you give in to that little voice you weaken your discipline.
I know myself well enough to anticipate that little fucker. So here are the things I’m doing to set myself up for success:
Put my work out clothes right next to my bed:
If I have to do anything like look for clothes or the video I won’t do it. I love to sleep and the idea of going back to sleep is always incredibly enticing to me. Way more so than being fit and successful (in the moment right after my alarm goes off). So I make sure I have no excuses to stay in bed.
On the Sunday, I let myself sleep as late as I want. This might help or hurt you so test it out and do what works. But I need that one day to look forward too. And the important thing is that I set the day and don’t let that little voice decided for me in the moment when my alram goes off.
Listen to motivational speeches daily:
This helps me so much! For specifics check out my post Discipline Equals Freedom. The reason they work for me is I’m the type of person who needs someone to keep me on track but in a not making me do it kind of way. With these speeches, it’s like someone telling me why it’s stupid not to follow through with my goal. It’s hard but that doesn’t matter. That makes it worth it. And sometimes you need a Veteran Navy Seal to put all that in perspective for you. If Navy Seals are not your cup of tea, YouTube has these videos from all sorts of successful people.
This is a physical way to retrain your brain towards positivity. And I probably wouldn’t have tried it if Tim Grahl hadn’t told us about how it changed his life. I used them to help my son get through a rough patch and I’ve used them to get myself off the couch and back to work. The way it worked for me and Tim was that I didn’t want to be lying to myself twice a day in the mirror. So I started getting my work done. That way at the end of the day when I looked myself in the eye and said “I am a hard worker” and “I am a writer” those statements were true.
You can use these statements from Zig Ziggler or write up your own. I started out with a list from Tim Grahl’s Productive Writer course and then changed them to fit my needs and wants. Some people only start out with one statement. One thing twice a day that they say to themselves to make a positive change. To help me continue my writing and get this yoga habit cemented, mine for November will be “I am a writer who writes every day” and “I am a health conscious person who does yoga every day”. Simple yet effective. Leave yours in the comments!
Write down my “Why” put it where I can read it every day:
This is key to helping you get through the bad days of a new habit. Mine for October was because I want to turn pro with my writing and I can’t do that if I don’t write every day. I have a lot of books waiting in the queue and the only way to get to them is to write this one. My why for November will be similar but more personal. I’m creating a daily yoga habit so I can be healthy and a better mom for my kids. It will also help me get more writing done because when you feel good the words flow so much better. At least for me.
Post to Instagram:
And lastly, I’ve decided to help myself succeed by raising the stakes. If I fail now, all I have to do is not tell you. And then my failure would be minimal and all my own. So I’ve decided to post pictures to Instagram using the hashtag #30daystonewyou. If I don’t post all 30 days, everyone on my instgram and facebook will know I failed. Which gives me a lot of motivation. I hate public failure. I chose the #30daystonewyou so A, you guys can join in and B, I can reuse it anytime I want to introduce a new habit (Also there are only 14 posts on this hastag right now). My pictures will be of both my word counts and my yoga mat or the video or selfies post workout. My instagram handle is @CamQuinnBooks. Come join me and make a change in your life! My pictures will also be shared on my Facebook page.
What habits do want to create? What changes could you make in your life by resolving to do that for 30 days?