Seinfield, Chains, & Writing

SeinfieldbgI’ve been trying a new technique to increase my writing output with quite a bit of success. Let me clarify, I measure success by working on writing in some way, every day. That’s been my goal. (I wrote last year about how important it was to set goals and then create a plan to achieve those goals, a road map of sorts.) I have finally found a very simple method that works for me.

I first heard about this technique on the website Basically, the site covers everything from how to put an altoid tin to use when you’re finished to how to land your dream job (in case you’re one of the five people who hasn’t heard of it). I’m an organization junkie and I’m in love with efficiency. I’m always searching for ways to accomplish more in more efficient ways.

This bit of advice hit my radar last year sometime.

[Seinfield] told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.

I noted it, did a little nod that it was likely good advice, and promptly filed it away. Fast forward a few months to me being utterly disgusted that I could not find a writing schedule that worked for me. I’d write for a day or two, slack off for a week, and start over.

I finally decided to buy a calendar and try this technique. I can tell you that making those chains is more addicting than candy crush. Or chocolate. Or Downton Abbey. Whatever you find irresistible, you will also find yourself compelled to add another link to your chain. There were those days, and we’ve all had them, that writing anything seemed so huge that the only reason I opened my laptop to do it was to create another link in my chain. And I got good, solid work done because of it. I started seeing real progress.

If you’re struggling, I suggest you give it a try. I also (again) recommend Jamie Raintree‘s writing progress spreadsheet to help you keep up with your work on various projects.

Do you have any other tips that might helps all of us get butt in chair?

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Are You Ready to Get Lucky?

March is a fun month. I mean really. What other time of the year are you not considered crazy for talking about four-leaf clovers, good luck and drinking green beer? Okay, I don’t drink green beer but I do admit to enjoying a pint of Guinness from time to time. It’s as close as I can afford to get to Ireland at the moment.

Fairy Dust Small

See how easily I get distracted? What I really want to talk about today is luck. I confess to being firmly in the camp of luck is when hard work meets opportunity. Doesn’t that sound easy? Just keep working hard and an opportunity will just fall into your lap. Hmmmm, I don’t think so. I believe there are a couple tricks to that statement.

First off, do you absolutely have to work hard? Yes, I believe you do. But you can’t work hard at a bunch of things, constantly shifting your expectations and goals like sand in the desert and expect spectacular results. You need to stay focused on what your ultimate goal is. It’s easy to get sidetracked by doing writing things, like editing, social media, reading, so we feel like we’re making progress, when in reality we’re just kidding ourselves because we’re not actually producing pages and doing the writing itself.

The other trick is being able to recognize opportunity when it presents itself. Usually we have an idea of what our perfect opportunity will look like. But what about those times when things happen that aren’t according to our plan? And maybe they don’t quite look like what we thought our opportunity should appear to be? What if we get rejected? How can that be lucky? And what about the opportunity of self-publishing? That’s a big one.

So in a sense flexibility is also a key to being lucky. I do believe in luck, but you have to be ready for it. I don’t believe it ‘just happens’ to very many people. Having been involved in the writing industry for nearly ten years now, I can tell you from experience and observation that some of the writers that I know that are having large success today may have had some luck with their timing. Although to some it appears that someone just sprinkled lucky fairy dust all over them.

But that being said, every one, without fail, has single-mindedly stuck to her goals, stayed the course, been writing and putting out work when others were bemoaning the ups and downs of the industry and ‘taking breaks’ from writing. Or in some cases had illnesses or other personal issues beyond their control that took them away from writing.

It’s the people who haven’t given up, who’ve kept at it year after year, stayed focused on their goal, refining their craft, managing their networking, and building a body of work who have become successful. And that to me is the best luck of all.

Have you gotten lucky lately?

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Eat more chocolate and bedazzle all my jeans

When the clock ticked from Dec. 31, 2013 to Jan. 1, 2014, did you make a list of resolutions or goals? If so, I hope you are well on your way to achieving them.

The talented ladies here at Through Heart-Shaped Glasses have given us lots of information and motivation this month regarding resolutions and goals. Thank you!

I, on the other hand, am not much for observing traditional resolutions or goals. Mine always fell into one of three categories anyway: weight loss, organization and productivity. As my younger sister oh, so sweetly reminded me via a cutesy Facebook e-card, “My New Year’s resolution is to write 2014 instead of 2013.” I’m hovering around 50-50 on that particular goal.

So, in keeping with my No Resolution New Year and just for fun, here is a list of ten (mostly) fake resolutions.

Eat more chocolate.

Sleep in more often.

Don’t clean the house so much.

Avoid doing the laundry.

Buy more shoes.

Cook less.

Eat more pasta.

Spend more time on social media.

Do fewer dishes.

Bedazzle all my jeans.

Did I miss any? 😉 What fake resolution would you make?

Don’t forget to leave a comment and be entered into the January giveaway…a $10 Amazon gift card from Lori Sizemore!




About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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