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Try these tools and techniques to keep your 2012 writing plan on track

The older I get the faster time seems to fly by and this year is no exception. The first month of the year ends today, and it’s made me stop and think about how much progress I’ve made on my writing goals.

I’m on a good track so far, but I know I need to focus on what I can do every day if I’m going to accomplish my plan.

Several tools and practices are helping me maintain a daily writing practice. I’ve listed them below:

Making better use of Stickies and to-do lists. I always feel more in control of what I have to do and how I’ll remember all the bits and pieces of tasks and ideas floating around in my brain if I write everything down. I use the Stickies app that comes with the Mac to collect ideas and notes. If you use a Windows-based computer, you can use a freeware Stickies app from Zhorn Software.

Tracking and rewarding progress. In my corporate job, I used to meet with my manager every week or so to update him on my projects and progress. Now, I’m using the 5-Minute Journal as my way of checking in with myself as I note my daily progress. It has a sorting feature so I can regularly look back and analyze my accomplishments and challenges. If you like a visual reminder, get a month at a glance calendar and put a star on each day you write. Do whatever works for you to create your own process. Because when it comes down to it, daily writing will propel you to your goal of a finished manuscript.

Getting up earlier. I constantly examine how I’ve arranged my life and schedule to make the best use of my time. I’ve found that writing early in the morning is the best way to make sure I’ll get my words down. I also like writing in the morning because my mind isn’t so full of distractions from the day’s events.

Using 750words.com as my writing playground. It helps me remember that I can just put words down on the page without judgment. It’s helping me move my writing projects forward, and gives me one more way to measure my progress. I’ve signed up for a challenge to write every day in February. For more information, go to the website or read my post about 750words.com.

It’s early days for 2012. Look back on the month of January and review your own progress. This is a good time to think about what went well and where you found difficulties. Now, think about what else you can do in your own writing life to set the stage for the rest of the year.

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