The Power of a Writing Streak

If you can’t tell by my listed and categorized New Year’s resolutions (not to mention the countless other organizational habits I reveal through my website…), I’m a big fan of using efficiency, logic, and positivity to “trick” myself into being productive. And luckily for me, it’s still early enough in 2016 to do just that.

That's one way to keep me at the keyboard...

That’s one way to keep me at the keyboard…

Every day this year (yes, all whopping six of them at the time of this writing), I have written on one of my works-in-progress. Now, for you more seasoned authors, or you enviable full-time creatives, this probably isn’t impressive. But for those of you stuck in the day job grind or the continuous battle with “the muse,” you know that, sometimes, maintaining even a measly six day writing streak can feel like climbing a mountain. And with how much hell Desertera #2 is giving me, I feel like I’m tackling every inch of Everest.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m an “all or nothing” person. If I’m going to do something, I put all my energy into it and do the best job I can. If I don’t think I can do it well, I usually don’t even try. Is this a great philosophy? Obviously not. I’m continuously working on it, but for the time being, I’m learning to work with it. And if you want to accomplish your goals, whether writing or otherwise, you need to sit down, psychoanalyze yourself, figure out your weaknesses, and find a way to turn them into strengths.

Learning to manage this personality quirk has been one of my greatest accomplishments over the last few months. Slowly, but surely, I’ve seen a quantitative increase in my writing and a qualitative increase in my writing itself and my attitude towards it.

For those of you needing a little inspirational boost, here are some of the many benefits my writing streak has given me:

  • A sense of purpose
  • Increased confidence in my writing ability
  • Less “staring at the blank page” time when I start a session
  • A healthily growing word count
  • A sense of accomplishment
  • Greater creativity in other aspects of my life
  • Closer bond with my best friend (who is my alpha reader)
  • Validation of my authorial aspirations

And here are some of things my writing streak has taken away:

  • Guilt at not doing my creative work
  • Feelings of self-doubt and self-loathing
  • Time spent binge-watching Netflix

We’re only six days into 2016. I know I’m still in the New Year honeymoon phase, and I know this streak cannot last. But what I do know is that I’m making progress toward my most important goals, putting something good into the world (even if the world can’t experience it yet), and feeling better about myself in general. And all it takes is actually sitting down at the keyboard and putting in the work. Some days, it may be a struggle to get there, but if I can remember my strategies to get started…and the feeling I had while writing this post, I know I can keep hacking away at my goals, one word at a time.

As for you…if you want to join me in this honeymooner bliss (or stay here with me), you’ve got to commit. You’ve got to be brutally honest and figure out what’s keeping you from your ambitions. Fear? Laziness? Poor time management? Don’t be ashamed – we’re all human, and we all fail. Victories come one day, one minute, one word at a time. Find your weaknesses and learn how to beat them.


What goals are you working toward? What keeps you from writing or doing other creative work? How can you find the motivation to overcome your weaknesses?

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Kate M. Colby is an author of science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction. When she is not writing or working, Kate enjoys playing video games, antiquing, and wine tasting. She lives in the United States with her husband and furry children.

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Posted in Writing & Publishing Articles, Writing Craft & Tips
17 comments on “The Power of a Writing Streak
  1. J.C. Wolfe says:

    I’m working on the same goal! Every day, I try to write a little of my novel, even if it’s only a handful of words at a time (still better than the “zero” I wrote for most of last year). I agree that it does wonders for one’s creativity and sense of accomplishment! Good luck keeping up your writing streak through 2016! Happy New Year! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I, like you, set writing goals this year. So far, I have stuck to them very well. I finally had to make a spreadsheet to keep track of my words per day per project, then I had to make the program make them into a pretty bar graph. I try to outdo myself every day. It is keeping me motivated.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ofopinions says:

    Hi Kate, I just spent the entire evening trying to make an order for The Cogsmith’s Daughter, and it finally got through! Don’t ask, but it was the combined ineptitude of myself and Amazon that kept getting in the way. A while back, probably when it came out I faced similar problems, and so I am happy to report I finally have your novel sitting happily on my Kindle!
    Thank you for the mention, by the way. I obviously read the dedication, acknowledgements etc. I am just so proud of you to have come out with your first book in this manner, and if I were you, I would remind myself of that accomplishment whenever I would have problems with writing book two.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry you had trouble with your download, but I’m happy to hear you’ve grabbed a copy (and that someone actually read the acknowledgments!). Your suggestion is great. I really do need to remind myself that I have done this before and that there are people out there looking forward to the next one. As always, thank you so much for giving me a positive perspective!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree, writing every day makes the story go along a lot better but for me right now it’s impossible. It’s the end of the semester and I’m so late on everything that it hurts.

    My streak will start two weeks from now, when hopefully I’m done with the semester and I passed everything. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Climb on Kate… you can conquer Everest of writing. So happy for you. Thanks for sharing your journey it continues to inspire me. Oh, I have a dog that likes to take over the keyboard.
    Dream Big Always,
    Judy

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Committing to a daily writing habit was a complete game-changer for me. I’ve now written for over 800 days in a row, and it’s a solid habit. (The minimum count for “having written” is 250 words). Even with the day job and family, I can do 250 words a day and that adds up to a book length manuscript over the course of about 10 months.

    I hope you’re able to keep your streak going and enjoy the ride!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When our am on a streak I feel incredible, like I can accomplish anything. And then it deserts me and I absolutely feel I’ve Bern left on the side of the mountain with no gear and a Sauron storm heading my way.

    Liked by 1 person

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