Zabowska's Blog

December 1, 2009

Use Promises to Get your Writing Done

Filed under: Uncategorized — zabowska @ 8:32 pm

       Some writers use promises to themselves to help them get their writing
       done. A promise is very specific. There are two things that writers should
       be specific about: they should be specific about their actions or their
       results. A specific action promise might be: “I commit to writing at least
       fifteen minutes a day, six days a week, for a month.” A specific result
       promise could be: “I agree to have two chapters written by December 31st
       of this year.
       One way of making promises effective is by writing them down and
       speaking them aloud to others. I tend to forget my promises. I’m good at
       keeping them if I write them down. If I don’t write my promises down, I
       might keep them or I might not. Making a public commitment seems
       important for some people; it evokes a sense of responsibility or shame
       that helps them keep the commitment.
       We all promise others that we will do things and we usually deliver
       what we say we will. So, why is it so hard for writers not to follow through
       on their promises to themselves that a particular book will be complete by
       a certain date? When I start writing a book or novel, I make sure that I
       have a date when I promise myself to have the novel or book completed.
       I usually write this tentative date on my calendar in a prominent place
       where I write so that I could get closer to my goal each and every day.
       For most writers, unless (s)he has a contract from a publisher, (s)he will
       have a difficult time to complete the novel or book on time. This is sad
       since our promises to ourselves should have the same merit as our
       promises to others. However, once a writer has a contractual obligation to
       complete the manuscript by a certain date, (s)he will produce it. 
       I urge all writers to take the time to make written commitments about
       their writing projects themselves. If they need to, as I do, call up a writing
       friend or tell your critique group that you are beginning a book and when
       you plan to complete it. Have them keep reminding you to complete your
       manuscript by the prescribed time or date. This is one way to successfully
       complete your writing commitments.


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