making slow progress is better than making no progress

Slow Progress is better than No Progress by Matthew Marchitto

What? I’m not updating my blog to avoid working on my current WIP, you’re updating my blog to avoid working on my current WIP.

Um, er, anyway.

I’ve always valued the slow and steady approach. Doing a little bit here and there adds up over time, and I try to apply this to my writing. Sometimes hitting word counts can feel like grinding stones. During these lull periods, I tell myself that it’s okay to do a little. Even just 100 words, because by the end of the week I’ll be 700 words ahead than if I’d done nothing. This has worked for me, allowing me to make slow and steady progress even during those low periods.

But sometimes, sometimes, this turns into an excuse. It’s fine to be at a low point, and it’s fine for that low point to last as long as it needs to. But eventually we’ve got to start crawling our way out. This is different for everyone, there’s no universal answer and anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something. I can only tell you what works for me, and hope it helps.

Carving out a dedicated writing time helps me immensely. Every day at whatever-O’clock I’ll commit to sit down and write. Plus, I’ll give myself an increased word goal, nothing too far out, but something within reach. And over time I try to slowly increase it. Usually, these two things together help get me back on track. Whenever my word count suffers, it’s almost always accompanied by a frantic hyper-focused worry about This Month’s Negative Thing. And my writing schedule during these times fluctuates, chores and everything else seemingly rising in priority.

That’s when I get in the Writing Vault and shut the door. Carve out that time with an iron will. Setup turrets that will pelt any intruder with a fusillade of nerf darts. No one can withstand a nerf dart barrage. The routine gets me back on track, it becomes like brushing your teeth. Just another thing you’ve got to do, otherwise ick.

That’s what helps me. Maybe it’ll help you, or maybe it won’t. Everyone’s process is different, but I hope this can at least point you in the right direction.