Simple

I want to do too many things at once. I go through phases. I don’t know which one to stick with. And even when I do decide on a specific focus, I struggle to find a strategy to achieve that goal.

For writing I vacillate between writing for a set amount of time verses a set amount of words.

For comedy I vacillate between rehashing old material every day verses writing something new everyday.

And then how much of each?

Do I spend a particular amount of time on each? Or do I seek to accomplish something specific?

I don’t know. I go back and forth.

However what I know (not realized… very rarely do I “realize” anything. This is all stuff that I already know. I lose sight of the obvious with all the clutter in my mind) is that it doesn’t matter which strategy I choose. All that matters is that I am consistent with a strategy.

For example, when I decided that I was going to write for two hours a day, some days I would kick some ass and knock out 1,000 quality words. Other days I wouldn’t feel like writing, so I would write 500 awful words in two hours.

After experiencing this, I decided to change my approach – I would write 1,000 words a day no matter how long I took. If I reached my quota in thirty minutes, I’m done. If I wrote 500 words in three hours, I would continue to write until I reached my quota.

I thought this would force me to be a more productive writer, but it didn’t change much of anything.

Some days I wouldn’t feel like writing, and I would mindlessly write 1000 awful words in a half-hour and call it a day. On other days I would write 1,000 quality words in three hours.

The strategy did not change my effort level.  My effort is dependent on me, not the strategy.

I would try different strategies in the hope that one would magically increase my motivation. I would change them so much; I would get overwhelmed that I would not do anything at all.

The point is to have a strategy and stick with it. Don’t get caught up in the details. Keep it simple and get the work done.

It’s important to evaluate things, but evaluation doesn’t get work done. It delays it.

If you want to write a novel, you need to start writing. Don’t spend an hour working on the storyline, an hour developing a character, and then another hour reading great literature. You’re not getting anywhere close to writing a novel by reading and planning.

If you want to run a marathon, you need to start running. Don’t spend hours researching the best “Beginners Marathon Training”. Each training plan involves running, so run, and then check out some strategies.

Do the obvious first – run or write, and then once you have completed the obvious, move on to the other things that will help. Go ahead and read, do some push-ups and research some training strategies, but the next day, get the most obvious done first. Don’t lose sight of that.

You write to reach a writing goal. You run to reach a running goal. If you haven’t done the obvious today, you aren’t planing nor are you researching, you’re procrastinating.