A Writing Tip for the New Year

Do you want to know my secret for hitting my deadlines in the past year?

No, it doesn’t involve the ability to stop time or even a really fancy planner. (Whenever I buy one, I think I’m going to use it. I don’t. I think those planners are unfounded optimism with a cute puppy on the cover.)

I gave myself buffer.

For example, I want to finish a rough draft of my novel by the end of this month, but I put it in my Google calendar for Valentine’s Day. Because if we’ve learned anything from the past two years, life can throw you a few curveballs. 

Besides, do you want to stay up until 4 a.m. to finish a book? I don’t know about you, but I left those coffee-fueled nights behind in my early twenties. Let’s not relieve those.

Also, the muse can be fickle. There may be some days he doesn’t show up, no matter how long you hang out by the computer. It’s good to watch a movie (I really recommend Spencer), read a good book, or take a walk to refill your cup. It’s always nice to have wiggle room for those moments.

Basically, give yourself some breathing room. While there’s always that bit of pride in saying you finished a book in a month or two, it’s better to take care of yourself and gift yourself time. 

Besides, isn’t better to do something well than rushed?

So, if you’re looking for a word or theme for this year, I recommend “buffer,” which, in my mind, is another word for “grace.” 

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