You are running in a 5K and you look around and see all these other people going faster than you. You feel like you’re going slower than them just because you’re not trying hard enough, so you speed up. That increase near the beginning affects you near the end, and you lose your breath and are forced to slow down or even stop. You end up getting a lower score than you hoped. This is because you didn’t really go at your own pace. The same goes for writing—and life in general.
We all go at different writing paces. That’s okay. Don’t overwork yourself.
I’m a pretty busy guy myself, so last month (November), while some people’s writing goals were something-thousand words (mostly because of Nation Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo), mine was only at a 100-200 word average per day. That’s okay. I’ve tried to do 500-something a day, and when I was this busy, it just didn’t work for me. And guess what? I’m still making progress. I’m still reaching those milestones. Maybe it’s slow progress. I don’t care that I’m not the fastest writer in the world. I’m fine with the speed I’m at. I’d love to be faster, and I am getting faster, but I’m not going to beat myself up about not being ‘one of the best’.
Maybe you have all the time in the world. Great, go for it! Write hard and long! Maybe you don’t—maybe you’re super busy. That’s fine. Just do what you can. Do your best!
We all run our own races. It’s impossible to run someone else’s race—that’s not how life works. You go too hard, you burn out.
Here are some suggestions that I do hope will assist and guide you in some way.
#1 Take a break.
Breaks are more important than you may think. If something’s stressing you, there is a good chance that you need a break from it. Try taking a week long break from writing, and see how that feels. Maybe what you need is a whole fresh start. If so, try for one month. One month without writing. If an idea comes into your head, write the basics down somewhere then move on. And pray unceasingly whilst you go about your business.
#2 Rearrange your schedule.
After your break, despite your possibly crazy schedule, hopefully, you have a clearer state of mind! If so, take a look at your schedule. What’s there that’s vital, what’s not? Is there a way you could rearrange things better? I suggest you make another detailed list of things that you do regularly but wouldn’t have put on a list. Some things could include brushing your teeth, lunch, and procrastinating school by scrolling on social media. Estimate how long each takes. Is there something you find yourself doing that is, really, just a waste of time?
If you’re like me, you get distracted a lot, which is an easy way to not make progress. Consider getting an accountability partner or a few, a friend or relative maybe. If you spend a lot of time online when you shouldn’t be, have your accountability partner schedule messages to be sent to you regularly. Maybe you’re scrolling on Gmail and then pops up. . . “HEY, GET BACK TO WORK, SILLY!!!” Possibly that’ll bring you back to reality. 😆
If you get distracted by daydreaming, request that a sibling or parent ‘yell’ at you to get back to work regularly.
Something a lil’ bit funny: when I do math I easily get distracted with daydreaming (hey, I’m a fantasy writer—what can I say?) and so often when my mom comes by, she says something like, “get back to math,” or just, “Danny.” And I reply with the same exclamation bringing me back to reality, “oh-oh, math! Yeah!” 😛
#4 Increase your writing speed.
This is not something you can just. . . do, hehe. It takes skill and lots of practice. Here are two suggestions for ya:
- Write fast and don’t care about quality. This is geared toward people writing first drafts. Most commonly, the way to go about writing first drafts is just to write, write, write. Not edit, just write. Then, when come the other drafts, you may edit all you want. But, hear me now if you’re writing a first draft: don’t even look over what you wrote when you’re writing, just focus on what you’re about to write. I don’t care if a character says, “I ned that sord, sir. Coud have it?” Instead of, “I need that sword, sir. Could I have it?” You can edit those. . . later. Just practice writing-writing-writing hard, and you’ll likely get faster at writing-writing-writing hard.
- The Most Dangerous Writing App. Yeah yeah, I have mentioned this several times before, but from my understanding and limited experience, a few short sessions/sprints of this will help you get in the write-fast-don’t-care-about-quality attitude and feel. What I think is convenient and kinda ironic is that I don’t even need to download it as an app, not on this laptop anyway. I just search it up and go.
Dear reader and fellow writer, I pray that this post has been of use to you. Just remember this: you are in your own race! Run it to the best ability, not looking left or right, and let the Author of Life guide you. Do not feel bad about not being as fast as others. Just pay attention to what God says and He will not lead you astray.
With God’s help,
Daniel L. Amador