Bad habits are hard to break, and good habits are hard to develop. Some psychologists say that it takes at least 30 days to develop a habit, but for some people it can take upwards to a year.
For me, and possibly for many of you, developing a new habit disintegrates into a memory of what you had hoped to do.
So, just what are my goals for “My 500 Words?” What do I want to accomplish?
I want to begin a daily habit – to show myself that there is time to be writing each day. I call myself a writer, but I haven’t really been writing for the last year and a half. Teaching English/language arts had become an exhausting endeavor; the twists and turns of my personal life had taken what little time and energy I had left. When I was teaching creative writing, it was easy to get at least 10 minutes of time to write. I expected my students to write for the first ten minutes of class to a given prompt and I wrote to the same prompt. This left me a large file of ideas.
My actual writing goals span in many directions. I have written six first draft novels during National Novel Writing Month that need revision. I need to maintain the four or five blogs (This one is included in that count.) that I have set up. I want to write and submit short stories and poetry to contests and publications.
What I want to accomplish is to sit my backside in the chair and write, whether it is hand written to a prompt that is delivered to my email or work on one of the fiction or nonfiction projects in my unfinished works library.
I want to write or revise the short story that wins a contest, revise and polish the novel that gets picked up by a publisher, create the play that a director somewhere wants to perform.
Five hundred words is not a huge task, but 500 leads to 1,000 and 1,000 can lead to 5,000 and a polished, publishable work.
So here I sit working to commit 500 words to the page.
I need to learn not to let life interfere with my writing, but to let life exist around my writing and my writing exist within my life.
I need to learn to silence my internal editor and let my ideas tumble out onto the page. To let my characters tell their story in their way during the first draft. To let them tell their whole story because I never know when something they say may be relevant to something revealed during the first draft.