For a while, that illusion of accountability helped. I managed to write over 300,000 words. That's probably more than I had written in any prior year. So Smith's idea definitely helped me.
The problem, though is something Stephen Guise mentions in his Mini Habits book. Motivation can make us do amazing things, and amazing amounts of work in a short time. But motivation is fleeting. We can be highly motivated today, and totally unmotivated for six months. Relying on motivation or inspiration to build a writing career is futile. It's not consistent enough. If you have actually looked at my writing statistics for the past year, you'll see evidence of that.
Guise suggests that habit is a better foundation, and I think he's right. Forcing yourself to sit down every night and write as much as you possibly can will only work to a point. Eventually, you'll grow tired of the activity and the desire to do almost anything else will win out. That's what started to happen to me in August and September.
My current "mini habits" have scaled down to these two:
- I will sit at my keyboard for one minute each night, even if I do not write a word.
- I will take one minute each day and think about a novel I want to write.