Getting Concrete Part 2

junglePreviously on Betsy’s Blog…

Betsy has been meeting with Skipper, a chipmunk who happens to be the best goldarned Habit and Goal Implementation Specialist the Muse Council has to offer.  In the last post, Skipper broke the news that just coming up with the fuzzy, overarching objective of “I want to write a lot of books and have people read them” is not good enough.  Betsy is actually going to have to do something about it.

Betsy, of course, would prefer to think rather than act, but Skipper insists.  She has sent Betsy away to come up with her version of a plan.  In the meantime, Skipper has contacted Harry, the white gerbil who is the Guide on Betsy’s Quest to become a successful independent author, and asked for backup.

Now Betsy is ready to meet with Skipper again.  Has she come up with a battle plan?  Does she have any ideas of how to proceed?  Does she even know what “successful” means?

Let’s see…


*Betsy enters Skipper’s office in her brain* *Stops*


Yes? *Skipper’s voice comes from somewhere near the floor*

When did your office turn into a jungle? *Betsy pushes aside a large palm branch* *it snaps back and hits her in the face*

It’s symbolic of the obstacles barring your path to the realization of yourself in potential.

Yeah?  How? *Betsy spits out a leaf*

Because the weeds grow up and choke you.  You have to learn how to hack through them.

Awesome. *Betsy slaps at a mosquito*  Um, any chance you can tell me where you are? I don’t want to spend this whole post talking to ferns.

Just keep moving and you’ll find me.

Great. *Betsy pushes her way through the thick undergrowth* *slides on moss* *loses her shoe in quicksand* *gets hit in the head with a mango* *finally breaks through to a small clearing where a fire burns merrily*  There you are! *Betsy claps her hands*  And Harry’s here too?

Hey, doll.  *Harry pulls a stick holding a marshmallow out of the fire*  Skipper kind of, whaddayacallit, ‘reached out’ to me and told me you were getting down to the nitty gritty or whatever.  She thought I should be here in case you went off the rails.

Off the rails? Never.  *Betsy sits at the fire* *looks longingly at marshmallow*  Can I have–

No.  *Skipper settles beside Betsy*  So, now we have to think about how we’re going to get through this underbrush so you can meet your objective to write at least two book-length stories per year.  Then, hopefully, you can work your way up to three or four, or even more.

*Harry snorts* Yeah, good luck with that. Got any chocolate?  I wanna make smores.

*Betsy drools*  Ooooooo….smores…..

None for you.  *Skipper points* There’s stuff in the cabinet hidden behind that Sanchezia Speciosa.

Cool. *Harry rummages behind the plant*

Okay.  *Skipper crosses her ankles*  Talk to me.  How can we make this happen.  *waves at surrounding jungle*  How can we chop through all this?

*Betsy purses lips*  Well, the first thing I think I need to do is establish a concrete work routine.

*Skipper straightens*  Concrete?  Do tell.

Yes. *Betsy pulls out notebook*  *flips pages*  *reads*  I need to work on production writing every day.  In the past, I’ve just said “for as much time as I can fit in,” but that doesn’t seem to work.  I need to shoot for an actual time.  Then I’ll know whether or not I’ve made it.

Because saying ‘as much time as possible’ gives you an easy out. *Harry walks back to the fire with a new pack of marshmallows, chocolate bars, and a box of graham crackers*  If you only work, like, fifteen minutes, then you tell yourself it was all you could do, when you were really wasting time watching cat videos.

Cats are not a waste of time.  *Betsy watches Harry, distracted by chocolate*

They are as far as I’m concerned.  *Harry puts a marshmallow on a stick* *holds stick over fire*

Have you worked out what your daily time goal is going to be?  *Skipper cocks head*

Yes.  I’ve been working on it for a few weeks.

And you’re going to work every day? Seven days a week? *Harry pulls marshmallow back*  *shakes head*  Not burned enough.  *puts it back in the fire*

Yes.  Because when I don’t work on a project for a day or two, it’s easy to let it slide altogether.  So I want to work every day, if possible.

*Skipper pulls out her tablet computer* *taps in a few notes*  And if you work for the hours you’ve determined you can routinely put in, will you be able to write at least two book length works in a year?

*Betsy shifts*  See, that’s part of the problem.  I’m still learning my own process, so I really don’t know how long it takes me to do things when I’m committed to working every day.  But I’ve started a writing log to help me figure it out.  I can’t come up with a schedule until I see how long the different steps take, so I’m trying to track everything.  Once I have more information, I’ll have a better idea.

Good.  *Skipper types*  We like tracking.  And routines.

*Harry looks up* *Chocolate is smeared on his face*  Just make sure you keep writing every day.  That is the key.

*Skipper jumps up* *pumps little fist*  Okay!  First habit time!  Every morning, you’re going to write, and you’re going to try to put in as much as possible of your goal time before you do anything else.  How’s that sound?

*Betsy blinks*  Like I’m probably insane.

No.  *Harry burps*  You’re a writer.

Same thing.


To be continued…


tropical leaf




  1. Liz Gilbert says

    I LOVVVEEEE your blog posts and your books. Keep’em coming.

  2. Love the humor! Little asides that can slip by if you’re not careful make it a very satisfying read rather than people who slap you upside the head with things. Can’t wait to hear how the next one is progressing.

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