The Non-Zero Lifestyle

Hello again. So, I’m up to 21 days continuous of writing daily, and I feel great. Usually about 9 PM rolls around and I start feeling antsy (if I haven’t already put words down), and I have to pretty much stop whatever I’m doing and head to the computer.

This is great!

Of course, some days my word count was abysmal (one day was 9 words? C’mon, dude…). However, that’s not that big a deal. I mean, yeah, it is a big deal…it’s going to take a long time to get to Disneyworld in Florida from Alaska driving at 5 MPH, to put it in perspective. What I mean is that it’s far more important for me to develop a routine at the moment then actual volumes. The way I see it is that the volumes will come when the routine is ironclad.

What’s helped is changing my philosophy a bit. After reading a post on Reddit about non-zero days (Check it out here), I’ve changed from feeling sorry for myself about not reaching a word count to congratulating myself for writing, even if it’s a single sentence. Rule #1 of non-zero days was simply “promise yourself that you will do one thing every day that takes you one step closer to your goal(s).”

It’s so simple. And it works.

There are other rules, but I’ll leave that for you to read in the link above. For my writing lifestyle, the non-zero day strategy of always doing something has led to the completion of two chapters, some really solid world-building, and a juicy start into a new chapter. It’s always forward progress.

You should try it, even if it’s not for writing. Just think, want to get into shape? Well, it’s 11:59 PM and you haven’t exercised. Well, drop down and do 60 seconds worth of sit-ups or something. Anything. Even just one sit-up. Heck, 60 seconds of planks is amazing for your health.

Now you have an exercise non-zero day. Don’t worry about numbers, don’t worry about details. Just make sure that you do one thing that moves you closer to your goal every day, big or small.

Try it.

The next step for me, of course, is to ramp up productivity. I tried a 15 minute timer, to see what I could whip out. With some pauses for thinking, I did 350 words. That’s 1400 an hour, potentially. Doesn’t seem too bad, and I actually liked having a timer as a deadline.  So, I think after I spend a month or two on establishing a routine, I’ll work on hitting targets again; probably 250 words, which is over 91k words for a 365 days. I’ve hit that and higher the last couple weeks, certainly, but I’ve had low days too. Those numbers I’m sure are embarrassingly low as a professional, but the goal is not volume just yet, it’s unfailing discipline. Anything higher than 250 is icing…and in fact, my personal goal is 1000 words a day baseline consistently, which seems to me to be far more achievable than I had guessed. That’s like….three novels a year, or one big juicy one….wow!

I actually feel like a writer. Imagine that.

Oren

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