What do you do when you set your writing goals and then fall short of reaching them? When your other commitments and obligations get in the way. When writing takes a back burner to the 10145677. 683 things you have to do. What then?
Here’s the deal. You already know that you’re not the first person to miss a writing goal. And you certainly won’t be the last.
Do you want to know what the most important thing is? Right now? It’s not that you didn’t write. The most important thing is that you need to forgive yourself. That’s my first step when I want to get back on track.
Forgiveness is a fundamental part of the writing process. Self-forgiveness isn’t about denial. It isn’t about being unaware of your missed targets and procrastination triggers. It’s simply about being kinder to yourself.
Acknowledge that you missed the goal (for whatever reason) and move on without harsh self-criticism. In the process of self-forgiveness you can reflect on what is triggering your behavior and what events happened that may have interfered with your progress.
You can learn from these insights. Just don’t stay stuck in reflection mode.
Don’t like what you last wrote? Forgive yourself.
Have you had the same writing goal for months and still haven’t reached it? Forgive yourself.
Can’t even remember what you last wrote (has it been that long?): forgive yourself.
Did you cave and binge on Netflix this weekend instead of binging on your writing?? forgive yourself.
See a pattern here?
It’s so easy to beat yourself up and drown in your own self-criticism. But I’m here to tell you something. Worlds are not colliding because you’ve gotten off track. It’s time to stop focusing on what you haven’t done and get on track with what you can do. Right now.
Here’s foolproof (quick and dirty) guidance for you to get back on track:
Step 1: Breathe
Step 2: Forgive yourself (see above)
Step 3: Reassess and recommit to your writing goal. If your original goal was to write a blog post every day, did you set an unrealistic target?
Maybe you planned to write an email to your list weekly and that’s proving to be too much pressure for you. Give your goals a solid chance by not setting unattainable targets.
Once you’re reassessed your writing goals, commit to them.
Step 4: Set a writing routine. You need to get into a writing rhythm. This is essential to build a consistent writing habit you’ll stick to. Not sure how to do that? See my post on Prolific Writing.
Step 5: Open up your word document/blog/notebook/whatever you use to write
Step 6: Write. Don’t know what to write about? Grab a few writing prompts or write your book/blog/essay outline or start your book research or whatever next step you need to take to tackle that writing project once and for all.
Don’t let your perfectionism convince you that you’re not ready or you don’t have everything in place. Truth is, you’ll never feel ready and you’ll never have everything in place. Ever! If you wait for that perfect day to come when everything aligns, it’ll never happen.
This is a short post because..well…um…you’ve got writing to do, and so do I.