How I Will Finish My Manuscript

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

I jumped out of bed Friday morning at 6 a.m. sharp, singing praises of joy for having been given another day to live out my purpose here on God’s green earth. I grabbed a prepared-in-advance smoothie from the fridge, cheerfully glided through the usual morning stuff—which included a workout, dog care, packing hubby’s lunch, etc.—before sliding into my desk chair at precisely 8:00 with a prayer on my lips and a wealth of gratitude in my heart.

I spent the next four hours revising my manuscript, sinking easily into The Flow without once being tempted to open a web browser or look at the clock or check my phone, so I was shocked when my stomach told me it was lunchtime.

I stepped away from my computer, ate a healthy and colorful salad, and took Dolly out for a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. Returning home refreshed and reenergized, I hammered out a couple blog posts, along with a few simultaneously witty and thought-provoking social media posts.

At exactly four o’clock, I shut down my computer, carefully mapped out the next day’s plan, and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening reading, resting, and relaxing with family and friends.

I’m kidding, of course.

Although there is some truth to this romanticized version—e.g., my alarm does go off at six most mornings and I do spend four hours revising—the majority of it is far from reality. There are, in fact, many days that I’d rather hit the snooze button and I sleepwalk through most of my workout and writing is so hard that I can’t remember why I ever wanted to do it in the first place.

And yet I keep showing up.

My butt is in the chair each weekday at eight because I made a promise to myself that it would be. Because a little under a year ago I decided that I was going to make progress on my novel manuscript. I took an honest look at my irregular writing routine and I figured out what worked and what didn’t and why. Through trial and error, I landed on a schedule that fit my life and I committed to staying firm but flexible in sticking with it.

That consistency is how I am going to complete this manuscript. Will it be a bestseller? Or even good enough to find its way out of an agent’s slush pile? I don’t know. What I do know is that before the end of this year, there will come a day when I will sit down at my desk during my designated writing time and I will type the words THE END.

If you want to make progress on your own goals, you have got to decide to keep showing up. Write even when the words are terrible. Go to the gym even when you’d rather sleep in. Do what you need to do even when you don’t feel like doing it. Commit to creating that consistency and you will see progress.

You can do it, my friends! I believe in you!

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