For the past few years, I have maintained a schedule of writing 1,000 to 1,500 words a day Monday through Friday. When NaNoWriMo 2017 came up, I tried to step up that writing goal, but no surprise if you read my NaNoWriMo 2017 Recap post, I didn’t hit 50,000 words in November.
Then, December slammed me with a cold and then the flu. I found myself only writing 1,000 words a day two, maybe three, times a week. I was frustrated that I wasn’t writing every day Monday through Friday like I had for so long.
With the first of a new year approaching, I knew I wanted to get back to writing five days a week.
I missed writing on a regular basis, and that’s when I realized I had to let go of word count goals for a while.
For the entire month of January, I gave up tracking how many words I wrote each day and instead focused on writing until I felt satisfied each M-F morning.
Looking at where I started and ended in January, I wrote roughly 400 words a day, five days a week for the month. As someone who can write 1,500 words in a day, this might seem like a loss, but thankfully, one of my favorite bloggers, Danielle LaPorte came to the rescue about halfway through the month.
In that email, she wrote, “Here’s a reframe on taking a break or slowing down: You are not weak, you're not giving up or losing ambition, and you sure as hell aren’t lazy.”
Hell yes! There is nothing weak or lazy about the need to slow down. I could write 1,000 words twice a week or I could write 400 words five times a week. I still end up with 2,000 words by the end of the week, but when I ask myself which method is better, the answer is: writing every day. I would much rather write fewer words every day than write a ton of words every once in a while.
I WOULD MUCH RATHER WRITE FEWER WORDS EVERY DAY THAN WRITE A TON OF WORDS EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE.
Let me share a little more what Danielle says about slowing down because the way she phrases it, is so spot on:
“Our society is addicted to productivity. We think productivity increases our value as a human. And we want to be valued and loved. So…we become addicted to productivity. Which means... being still is an act of courage.... When you pause, you are rebellious and wise. Courageous. You’re synchronized with Mother Nature herself.”
“WHEN YOU PAUSE, YOU ARE REBELLIOUS AND WISE” —DANIELLE LAPORTE
As an author who loves to write rebellious characters, how can I turn down the opportunity to be one myself?
I may still have days where I crank out 1,000 words or more, but I’m glad I’m learning to write slower. I’m content knowing that each day I add more to my stories, and as long as I continue to take one step forward each day (even little ones), I’ll reach my destination.
I’d love to continue the conversation on stillness and slowing down with all of you. Leave a comment on this post or chat with me on Twitter or Instagram. How do you feel about slowing down? What’s your definition of productivity? Is it different from the rest of the world’s?
*Quotes from Danielle LaPorte were taken from her January 2018 newsletter (a sign-up form is at the bottom of her home page) and from her January 2018 blog post, “Addicted to Productivity, and the Courageous Act of…Stillness.”