The key to success: flexibility.

This feels like a check-point where I feel I need to reflect on my progress, re-evaluate what is important, and adjust my plans accordingly.

Since starting ROW80, I have been adding new challenges and targets to encourage improvement and to see how much I can accomplish.

Overall, I’ve been fairly successful. My main challenge hasn’t been work, like I feared, but myself. My own drive, my own motivation, and my own confidence in my abilities. I have repeatedly been heard mentioning terms like “a positive attitude” which I believe is any writer’s downfall if they don’t have it. Even when you’re super busy, if you don’t believe that you can fit something in, if you don’t believe you can achieve whatever you want to despite the demands on your time, you won’t then work out a way to fit everything in. You won’t organise your time, your priorities or reshuffle your commitments to enable everything to work out. Because you won’t believe that there is a reason to.

My first post for ROW80 was here

When looking at my first goals, many of them I have been able to stick to or go above if I re-worked when I did them. For example, I set 750 word goal a day which was achievable. But I found it was more productive to use my days off and plan to do 5,000 words every day I was off (2-3 days) and achieve more than the 750 words a day. That then meant I could use my breaks to continue reading a book for the BCC challenge (100 books in a year). Since making this change, I’ve managed to reach the ‘two books in a week’ minimum for the first week since starting the challenge. However, this sometimes means that my days working run over some of the check-ins and it appears that I haven’t done anything for the week

I started The Rising on the 2 January 2012 with very little idea of where it was going to go. I’m now at 24,000 words (I still have another 10,000 minimum to add by Friday) and I’m feeling incredibly positive about it. I know it’s not perfect, but it’s as close as I’ve ever come to a complete idea taking shape in a draft that I feel I can actually work with.

I have set up and post regular updates on https://www.facebook.com/KellyCautillo page to promote myself as an author.

Blogging has become much more regular and I’ve even set up another blog here: http://cakemixeater.wordpress.com/ to share research, opinions and recipes on improving the quality of the food I eat and making more home cooked things.

I’ve learned so much in the last two years about what doesn’t work for me that it’s so nice to finally know that I’ve found a method that does. I’ve been using a combination of Scrivener and Write or die to achieve my word counts in the quickest time possible, to organise my ideas, to create templates and fill out work sheets, and make the chapters easier to edit or add to later on.

I have found that very detailed plans don’t work for me. I need a rough idea, a few chapters briefly planned and then, as I write, the story and characters take shape. I can then jump into the separate folders and add details, chapter synopses, research folders etc.

In this time, I have proved to myself that I can do this work, I could (if writing was all I had to do) be a full time writer, I can fit networking, work, reading, writing etc in around each other. It’s just a shame I’m not getting paid to write. Yet. (Mark my words, it will! Ha!)

Though, within this last week, I have submitted a piece of flash fiction to an online site that pay $3 for published work on their site – it’ll be a good start!

Continuing to look through my initial goals, the sleep thing is something I’m struggling with as it’s not something I can force. Some days I have the time to sleep for hours but then I get woken or I can’t settle. Other days I could sleep until next year but I have only four hours until I have to get ready for work. I’ll keep trying though. I’ve been spending more time at my mum’s to try to encourage more of a regular sleep patter whilst I’m working. But, again, this is hit and miss as to what my body will allow. I’m getting on alright though as I don’t feel I’m suffering in any way.

I have finished The Tudors: season 3 and a friend at work has supplied me with the fourth and final season to get through. Yey!

In terms of making more home cooked food – it has really only happened in the last week with chicken stew, fresh curry and, as I write, potato cakes are just starting as boiled potatoes.

I didn’t get chance to continue with a food, fluid and exercise diary as I don’t seem to be consistent with when and where I am and what food is available. If I’m at home then I can eat more fruit and veg, fresh food etc. But my mum doesn’t really eat those things which makes it difficult to keep up elsewhere as travelling for over 2 hours can really affect the quality of some food choices I want if I want to take them to Mum’s. Plus it’s the actual lugging them about 3 miles – hardcore! I will have to look at putting in some orders for their next food shop to accommodate a better diet for me. 😀

So, whilst I may feel at times that I haven’t achieved anything, when I look at what I have accomplished in less than a month it really makes me very proud.

Thank you ROW80 for teaching me the value of flexible plans that can work with and not against having a life.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “The key to success: flexibility.

  1. I agree–flexibility is definitely a bonus. For me, it is figuring out which days work best with what kind of writing. Some days I can do a ton of creating, some days I can do a ton of revising. I’m spending some time paying attention to where my energy goes, so I can be more effective!

    I think you’ve got a ton of great things going on here, a ton of energy toward what matters to you!! Good luck with reaching your goals!

  2. Ryan King

    Believing that you can do it and that writing is worth the personal investment is difficult to achieve. But you should be proud of all that you’ve accomplished. A goal is just that, a goal. It’s something to strive for. Kudos on figuring out what is working for you.

    • Thank you Ryan. I certainly am! I know my writing and I aren’t perfect, but it’s as good as it’s going to get at this stage. I’m ok with that. I think that’s all part of life really – learning to change, adapt and improve oneself according what it is you want from your life.

  3. Ditto what Ryan said, Kelly. The insight you’ve gained into your work process is priceless, in my opinion. Great job!!

  4. Great post. That is a really good point about how it’s better to do bigger word counts on fewer days–I find that if I have lower word count goals every day, I’ll just achieve that amount and it’ll expand to fill even days I have a lot of time.

    You know, I’ve gotten waaaaay more positive since I started writing seriously. It’s completely necessary to become the head cheerleader in one’s own cheering squad!

    • I know there’s this drive to get people writing every day (which is great) but sometimes not always possible. I’ll obviously jot down ideas I have and things like that on my work days but I actually have little time for anything else around work.

      You’re totally right about being your own cheerleader! If we don’t push ourselves, noone else will. Saying that though, my last boyfriend was quite good at giving me a nudge, although he didn’t really understand the process so he’d sometimes not quite understand why something hadn’t been sent to off to publishers and things like that straight away.

  5. Left-Brained Business for Write-Brained People

    Excellent, Kelly! You’re building in so many good habits, I’m jealous!

    Joan

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