Writers can typically be loners, and I’m a lone wolf in this career. I don’t actually have a lot of writing friends or colleagues, and I don’t work with a larger team outside of my own four walls. Last year’s pandemic and lockdowns brought me to heel. I’m naturally an introvert, and beyond the few local business meetings, weekly cinema trips and a yoga class twice a week, I did little or didn’t care to. The complete lack of social engagement paired with a lone wolf work environment knocked my confidence a couple of months ago, but with some self-awareness, advice from a few trusted friends, and reading more psychology books than I should have, I realised I do not celebrate milestones, because I never thought about putting them into my workflow.
Celebrate the little things, and the big things
When you’re working alone, the most important thing you can do is to celebrate the little things, especially if you’re an extrovert working from home during the lockdown or if you are a lone wolf like me and without a team to celebrate with. Traditionally in an office environment, you’d complete a project and everyone would celebrate with drinks after work or a special lunch outing. But what many of us do is progress to the next big thing, without acknowledging the completion of a project.
You are not a conveyer belt. It is not good for your mental health. Celebrate the completion of a project, or even the milestones leading up to completion. Take the evening off, have a nice bath, order some takeout, drink a glass or bottle of wine, buy yourself a little treat… Reward yourself for the hard work that you have put in.
Documenting your progress is equally important. As a writer, I’ve started looking at my word counts monthly, quarterly and annually, and this has helped me realise how much writing work I have actually done. A portfolio, scrapbook or journal can help you keep track of your achievements, so if you have a low or unproductive day, as we all do from time to time, it’s an easy way to remind yourself of the volume of work you have done.
My Writing Statistics from 2019 to 2020
I never thought my career as a writer would have really taken off, but in 2020, a paid writer was born, and there is no stepping back now. This has been an absolute fantasy made reality for me, and I thank everyone who made this possible (you all know who you are).
In 2019, when I reopened TILT in the UK, my word count at the end of the year was 41,687. By the end of March 2020, I had already crossed that figure, with the year ending with 172,648 words written, published and paid for. This is incredible, and I never thought I would have been able to do this volume of work, ever, because I never thought I would have actually fulfilled the fantasy of being a writer.
So for those of you who are thinking about writing and have no classical training, start writing. If that is what you want to do, write. I have a small but growing library on The War of Words where I will be regularly publishing all the goodies, tips, tricks and woes I experience as a full-time writer.
I cannot wait to see what 2021’s word count is going to be… Maybe I can hit the 250k mark? Maybe 300k? Let’s see!