Tami Lewis Brown lives in one of the oldest houses in Washington, DC. It is (mostly) ghost-free. She escaped from a career as a trial lawyer to obtain an MFA in Writing For Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. And she’s the author of the forthcoming RADIANT MAN along with SOAR, ELINOR! and THE MAP OF ME, all published by Farrar Straus and Giroux Books for Young Reader.

Lots of people make New Year’s Resolutions.

I’m sure there must be a few people who actually keep them, although I don’t think I’ve ever heard any first person success stories.

New Year’s Day has never worked for me, fresh start-wise. It’s too much the tag end of a long string of family celebrations and over-indulgences. The new semester is starting at school. There’s snow everywhere. I’m just not into being virtuous and industrious the morning after I’ve guzzled way to much champagne and stayed up long after my usual bedtime.

So I’ve missed the good habits boat once again. In the last year my writing time has dwindled and Facebook has become my false friend.

Is it too late- for me, or if you find yourself in the same messy mire, for you? No! Of course not! Let’s cut ourselves some resolution slack.

Today is Ash Wednesay the first day of Lent, and not to put too fine a religious point on it, this is a time to give up indulgences and recommit to what’s really important. Religious observers give up something for Lent- red meat, chocolate, trashy tv shows… you get the drift. I’m, um, not super religious but I’ve decided to give up my number one indulgence-


(This is not me! But it might as well be)

How do I plan to accomplish this?

I’ve been reorganizing my WIP novel and I think I have the structure straight so this morning I broke my novel into individual 25 files, one for each chapter. Next saved them in one big novel folder. It’s the Bird By Bird approach. I can get this project done if I tackle it in manageable bites, a little at a time.

Next I pulled out my calendar and logged those chapters in.Tomorrow I’ll tackle chapter 3 and 4, on Friday it will be chapter 5’s turn. Most days I’ll work on one chapter, moving on the next day. At this point in my revision I know where the sticky bits are so I’ve scheduled extra time for them– but not too much. I’m building momentum as I build my book.

By creating daily appointments with small bites of my novel I hope to greet each day (with a few pre-scheduled vacation days) with vigor and excitement. No more trolling the internet. No more fooling around on Facebook. Sorry Kate Middleton, you’re going to have to plan your new maternity wardrobe without me.

I’ve got a book to write.

And now that I’m giving up procrastination for Lent I’ve got 40 days to do it! Cheer me on at my new website www.tamilewisbrown.com. I’ll be posting milestones and (eek setbacks) in the daily news section.

What are your tricks for keeping (or getting) on track? I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to know.

~tami lewis brown







  1. Get out the writing jar!!!! Every time you go backwards (or break your own writing rule), pay your favorite charity $25. That’s what works for me!!!!

  2. For me, procrastination is fear–and probably the biggest fear is where am I going with this book! To keep fear from overwhelming me–I sometimes switch from writing on the computer to writing longhand. Longhand I can let ideas rip and not worry about sentence structure or details. Very Bird by Bird–I think.

    1. I agree. It’s a fear thing. Or a loathing thing.

      I love writing long hand to get a fresh start. It generates a whole new fresh set of story ideas. Plus it’s harder to go back and revise every little word. Sometimes I think an old fashioned typewriter might be a good idea, too.

  3. Inspiring as always, Tami! I get and stay on track with specific goals–word count, hour count, deadline, etc. I can’t work at a fevered pace all the time, and often, very real things take me away from having my writing be the number-one priority. However, I do find that specific goals are good when I want and need to buckle down. This month’s goal might find me waking up earlier than usual (bleah! but worth it.)

  4. Waking up early to write is good because you’re making an appointment with yourself and giving something valuable up (sleep, glorious sleep) to get the writing done. Plus you get it accomplished first thing… yeah I should probably do this, too.

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