By in Writing

A Week of Advice for Writers – Day One: Pace Yourself

I just completed a major writing challenge. Over the course of one month, I published one unique piece for each of the thirty-six different topic areas that are listed here at Persona Paper – from Animals to Gardening, and from Spirituality to Politics.

A lot of people who are responding to Dawnwriter 's post about me completing her challenge say they started off well, but gave up . And that's a common problem with creative types like writers. It's easy for the initial inspiration to result in a quick burst of activity which then peters out after a short while, leaving the writer unsatisfied with her progress and feeling like a failure.

Set a Series of Attainable Writing Goals

It's best to think of most writing as a marathon , and not a sprint. Set small, attainable goals for yourself each day and each week. Break the larger task down into smaller goals – like writing one post on a different topic each week, instead of focusing on the whole thirty-six topics at once. Be careful not to ask too much of yourself, as this only sets you up for failure.

Measure Progress Regularly

Once your short-term goals are set, commit yourself firmly to at least working towards them each day. Any discipline, from diet and fitness to learning a new language, requires a consistent effort . Keep at your writing every single day, and avoid situations in which you'll be having to push yourself too hard in too short a period of time.

Celebrate Each Milestone

Check your progress informally throughout the day as you complete smaller bits of the day's goals. And then check your progress at the end of each day. This helps you see your progress sooner, and it also helps you avoid procrastinating because even a single day of slacking off will show.

Reward yourself for each milestone, however small. Recognize that even if you don't finish what you wanted to accomplish fir the day, you have still moved forward. You're doing a great job, and ou can see this project to the end!

The next article in this series will focus on getting organized in your writing . Watch for it tomorrow!

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Image credit: Marathon by Gerd Altmann/Pixabay ( CC0 1.0 )

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HappyLady wrote on December 1, 2014, 1:55 PM

Thank you, I was trying to think wwhat I could write here and trying each area seems a great way to begin.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on December 1, 2014, 2:24 PM

This is Guiness the Cat. When you can't think of what to write, just get the Catblog Cat to write for you. We kitties are used to rescuing you human writers, and when are we not cute? (Don't answer that.)

Debbi says to tell you that the same type of social blogging posts that do well at that other place are good here, also. And since Persona Paper is fully aware of the value of external traffic, longer evergreen and informational articles aimed at outside readers do well also. Debbi's had some encouraging numbers on SEO articles. Since we're still small, don't be discouraged by low views on personal pieces. We're still growing.

maxeen wrote on December 1, 2014, 3:10 PM

I just pressed the publish button and the internet went off,need a lucky black cat so it won't happen again...

Feisty56 wrote on December 1, 2014, 3:37 PM

I am not a bit surprised to see that your advice is logical and practical. Thanks for this and looking forward to your upcoming posts in this series.

Ruby3881 wrote on December 1, 2014, 4:14 PM

That was Dawnwriter 's idea, so your thanks should go to her!

Ruby3881 wrote on December 1, 2014, 4:57 PM

This is actually a subject for tomorrow's post on getting organized! I hope things go well until then :)

Ruby3881 wrote on December 1, 2014, 4:58 PM

You are such a supportive and warm hearted friend, Deb! Thank you emoticon :smile:

oneoveralpha wrote on December 1, 2014, 5:03 PM

That's good advice. One of my problems is finding the right sized goal. It seems mine are either too small, or too big. Maybe I should break into a bear's house to find something just right. :D

bestwriter wrote on December 1, 2014, 7:33 PM

I have no dearth where ideas go. In fact I restrain myself lest I should be seen here there and everywhere but checking whether I have covered all those categories is haunting me Eeeek!!!

scheng1 wrote on December 1, 2014, 8:07 PM

I will die if I take up this challenge. My writing niche is rather narrow, and I write passionately only about money.

Madcanman wrote on December 2, 2014, 5:29 AM

What a wonderfully useful post, Ruby. As always, you have some great advice and lots of information for all. Thanks, and I look forward to the next part.

crowntower wrote on December 2, 2014, 6:01 AM

Wow I didn't think of it shame on me! I always think on what to write while there are lots of categories in each site. Thank you for the insight specially on goals and discipline it is realy hard to focus or plan without goaling and listing things that we must do, or we would look like a floating boat in the middle of the sea.

phoenixmaid wrote on December 2, 2014, 1:19 PM

It can be very heard to keep the motivation going once the initial spark passes. It's something I am struggling with a lot lately.

celticeagle wrote on December 3, 2014, 2:34 AM

Celebrating each milestone is a good one. I keep getting distracting and having gotten back to my regular fiction writing in quite a while.

MamaOzzy3881 wrote on December 10, 2014, 4:54 PM

Great post! I was thinking about dling the challenge but it seemed too difficult to do but now i think i will give it a shot

simplysara wrote on December 19, 2014, 4:56 PM

"It's easy for the initial inspiration to result in a quick burst of activity which then peters out after a short while," I'm SO glad it's not just me! This happens to me ALL the time!

RuthCox wrote on January 4, 2015, 10:51 AM

An article for each category does sound like a good writing challenge and one I am considering. I am one who generally writes what I want to write, when I want to write it... Not always a good way to go about getting things done.