Since graduating from my MFA program last year, I’ve been slacking big time on meeting my creative writing goals — even as I hound other people (like my husband Navdeep) on theirs.
So, for the summer, I’ve decided to implement a new form of accountability — in the form of what I like to call my Chapter Challenge. I’ve already got about 125 pages of my current work-in-progress. I’ve revised my first couple of chapters, and now I return to the heavy work of writing new pages. My aim for the summer is to complete my draft — and I plan to do so by writing a chapter a week. It’s not a huge, lofty, unattainable goal — that’s what usually causes my downfall. It’s pretty simple, really. A chapter is a relatively quick turn-around for me once I actually sit down to write. So really, my goal is to sit down to write.
Given all the other chaos that this summer will bring — Navdeep and I will be putting our place on the market and looking for a new one, plus there’s work and lots of family time as we launch Mission Ishq on IshqInABackpack.com — I’ve decided the only way to get serious about this is to treat my writing as if it is a part of my workday. If I don’t get my hours in, if I don’t get my chapter done, I don’t get paid, right? Right.
The key to this, for me, will be leaving my apartment to work. If I’m home, there’s always the lure of the kitchen (whipping up a fun lunch instead of upping my word count), the drone of cleaning, the stress of work. And occasionally, the distraction of Navdeep! So I plan to head to the coffee shop around the corner for an hour or two daily and pound out a few pages. Over the course of the week, it’ll add up to a chapter — and over the course of the summer, it’ll amount to a completed first draft.
I’ll check in here for further accountability, but I also have a few taskmasters I’ll be reporting in to regularly — you know who you are!
What do you hope to accomplish this summer? And how do you plan to do it?