I make my living motivating prospective elementary school teachers through the rigorous, and sometimes tedious, process of earning a bachelors degree through an online university. My students are scattered all over the United States. I've even worked with students abroad, specifically in Germany and in South Korea. Regardless of the student's geographical location and irrespective of how far along she is in the program, I have found one thing to be consistently true. Homework does not get done unless she sits down to do it. She can have fifteen years of classroom experience, she can know every reading instruction strategy known to man, she can have every single math manipulative in existence stocked in her store room and still, she will never earn her degree if she doesn't form a consistent habit of completing her assignments. It's even better if she can commit to doing a little bit every single day.
I've spent nearly seven years preaching the "butt in chair (BIC)" formula for success to hundreds of students. Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don't - but those who do graduate a LOT quicker, that's for sure.
Right around the holidays this year, I experienced a (figurative) "lightening bolt to the head" sort of moment. I was just hanging out, peacefully soothing myself into writing stagnation because I didn't have enough time, or I hadn't outlined enough, or my kids were going to wake up/need to eat/want to use the bathroom/any number of other things pretty soon. I was struck with the realization that I sounded EXACTLY LIKE MY STUDENTS. Whaaaa???
My writing will not get done unless I sit down to do it. I can attend five conference a year, I can purchase every craft book ever published, I can download the best software and all the productivity apps, I can join every writing-related Facebook group and still, I will never finish my manuscript if I don't form a consistent habit of drafting my chapters. It's even better if I can commit to doing a little bit of writing every single day.
So I'm doing it. I'm making time. Every single day. I wake up right around 5a and I write for 20 mins. That's often all I can manage while my writing muscles are still developing and my kids are fixing to wake up at any time. Sometimes I get 200 words, sometimes it's closer to 700. Either way, that's more words than I've been getting. I'm getting faster with practice, my ideas are flowing through my day-day experiences more consistently and I'm feeling like a writer a little more every day. It's a beautiful thing.
Butt in Chair, my friends. BIC. I'm right there with you. Cheering all the way.