Use Promises to get your Writing Done

Some writers use promises to themselves to help them get their writing done. A promise is very specific. There are two things that writers should be specific about: they should be specific about their actions or their results. A specific action promise might be: “I commit to writing at least fifteen minutes a day, six days a week, for a month.” A specific result promise could be: “I agree to have two chapters written by December 31st of this year. One way of making promises effective is by writing them down and speaking them aloud to others. I tend to forget my promises. I’m good at keeping them if I write them down. If I don’t write my promises down, I might keep them or I might not. Making a public commitment seems important for some people; it evokes a sense of responsibility or shame that helps them keep the commitment. We all promise others that we will do things and we usually deliver what we say we will. So, why is it so hard for writers not to follow through on their promises to themselves that a particular book will be complete by a certain date? When I start writing a book or novel, I make sure that I have a date when I promise myself to have the novel or book completed. I usually write this tentative date on my calendar in a prominent place where I write so that I could get closer to my goal each and every day. For most writers, unless (s)he has a contract from a publisher, (s)he will have a difficult time to complete the novel or book on time. This is sad since our promises to ourselves should have the same merit as our promises to others. However, once a writer has a contractual obligation to complete the manuscript by a certain date, (s)he will produce it. I urge all writers to take the time to make written commitments about their writing projects themselves. If they need to, as I do, call up a writing friend or tell your critique group that you are beginning a book and when you plan to complete it. Have them keep reminding you to complete your manuscript by the prescribed time or date. This is one way to successfully complete your writing commitments. Irene