So, I talked about using a good schedule system, one that works for you. But something I didn’t cover is missed days.
We all have missed days. Maybe we get sick, or we take a family vacation. As a writer, I can be dedicated, but I can’t drop everything just to write on a day when it’s truly inconvenient to.
To account for this in my overall scheme, every day that I write the minimum, I mark honestly. Any day which I exceed my goal, I list as a great day and congratulate myself on a job well done. But days which I miss, I leave empty and have to make up lost ground.
During my next session, I write until I hit the designated daily minimum, then mark it as completed on the missed day, until I’m back up to date. No matter how many days in a row I missed, I still have to make them up with the minimum for each day accounted for. It isn’t until I’ve covered all the lost ground that I can start adding to my “extras” total once more.
This works in two ways. The first being that when I look back over my schedule, I don’t feel bad about old lost days. I usually know when this happened (it’ll be the week full of minimum marks), but I know I did my work and made up for it. There’s no red cross through my schedule, guilting me into feeling like I failed, because I still put in the effort and got back on track. That’s something to be proud of!
Secondly, I’m always keeping up with my overall word count, because all the “extras” days still put me in front. Once I’m ahead, I’m always ahead, as long as I work through my designated minimum in the meantime. There are always good days, and there are definitely bad days. I don’t believe in self-punishment, just as much as trying to make rewards for myself doesn’t work (there’s just no value in saying to myself, “you can’t have that until you’ve completed this”).
Using my schedule this way keeps my confidence up, rewards me when I’ve genuinely worked hard, and shows the true dedication I have to keep at it. Because every day is filled, even when it’s retroactive!