I have two concerns about this commitment to daily blogging.
- Can I think of enough interesting stuff to write about?
- How will I ever find the time?
The usual writer’s panic about Finding Ideas and Meeting Deadlines. Finding ideas is less about finding, actually, than it is about not wasting time searching for the perfect idea.
Yup. The nightmare of Time Management rears its ugly head.
“All time management begins with planning.” ~ from
Instant Relief: The Encyclopedia of Self-Help
by Tom Greening & Dick Hobson
How do I manage my writing time?
I discipline myself in several ways
- I set mini-goals: complete 1 blog post, write a minimum number of words or pages for my current work project, write for two hours, finish first draft by client deadline.
- I promise myself rewards: when I meet my current mini-goal, I will go for a walk, or read a for-fun book, or meet a friend for coffee.
- I join blog challenges.
- I use an editorial calendar for blog posts.
Last year, I joined a few blog challenges, just to get their writing prompts. I wound up not needing the prompts on most days, but knowing they were there made the process less stressful. It also helped with the time management issue, since I didn’t waste a huge amount of time dithering about the choice of a topic. If I sat down without a clear idea, I immediately turned to the prompts and started writing. It was especially easy with the challenges designed for specific days. If this is Thursday, I’ll write something for Third Sentence Thursdays.
This year, I decided to streamline the process even further. Every day of the week has its own challenge. (Of course, I reserve the right to insert an off-topic passionate rant about whatever catches my attention, even if it doesn’t fit a particular daily challenge.)
National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo)
This is my “umbrella challenge,” patterned after National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). NaBloPoMo coördinates the blogging efforts of a group of writers who cheer each other on to achieve personal writing goals. While November is the original annual event, there is now a theme for each month year round. The organizer posts theme-related daily prompts, Monday through Friday, as inspiration for writers who don’t have their own topic in mind.
Under the umbrella, I have these daily themes.
Part way through last year’s NaBloPoMo, I stumbled across a book called pay attention: a river of stones. A Buddhist monk and his wife taught a course on mindfulness. As part of their program, students observed one thing carefully each day, and submitted snippets—”Small Stones”—about their insights. Some wrote poems, others drew a picture or took a photograph, others told a story. At the end of the course, they collected submitted material into a book.
Recently, they couple has opened up their River of Stones program to others who want to learn to focus and be present in the world, without attending a class. The next official Mindful Writing course will be in January 2014. For now, though, I’m declaring my own Mindfulness Mondays to get in practice for the main event.
This is one of three reading-related challenges I’m participating in this year, this one hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To take part:
- Grab your current read and open to a random page.
- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
- Avoid spoilers; make sure you don’t ruin the book for others!
- Give the title & author so that others can add the book to their To Be Read lists if they like your teasers.
- Share your teaser on the current Tuesday post on the Should Be Reading blog.
This has become a widespread Internet meme. People post a photograph with no text except the photo credits. Since one of my other personal goals for the year is to improve my skills as a photographer, I’m going to try to get out with my camera at least one day a week, and shoot something awesome.
Third Sentence Thursday
Hosted by Words I Write Crazy, TST has a simple set of rules:
- Take the book you are currently reading and open it to a random page.
- Share the third full sentence on that page using the pattern
Title, by author, page#
- Review this sentence anyway you want (funny and silly reviews encouraged)
- Post a link to your sentence at Words I Write Crazy .
Nothing formal, just encouraging myself to remember stuff. Remember what? Well, anything. I think of it as polishing a memory and hanging it on the wall for friends to appreciate. Sometimes I’ll start with one of the old family photos I’m scanning before they disintegrate. At other times, it will be a childhood memory. Occasionally, it will be an old friend I haven’t seen in years, or a book I’m rereading, or a piece of music I sang 20 years ago.
Mount TBR Saturdays
Mount TBR is the last of my book-related challenges. I signed up this year, but won’t make my goal (see my post from last Saturday, 2013-11-02). Hoping to do better in 2014. Meanwhile, I’ll continue working on my 2013 list and post my progress every Saturday.
Every Saturday, Megg posts a writing prompt. People write something based on that prompt, and post a link on Megg’s blog. Usually, the prompt resonates with one of the books I’m reading, or another topic I’ve written or read about, and I can feel my mind stretch.
So…that’s my plan.
Wish me luck!