I know myself well enough to know that if I give myself any excuses, I’ll fall prey to my procrastination demon and the words simply won’t get done.

So, as a rule (ie 99% of the time), I stick to my wordcount target on a working day, and push through until it’s done.

But there’s always the other 1%. Today, I’ve only written 600 words (my target is 2,500). I have a deadline, so unless I write some more tonight, I’ll either lose some contingency, miss the deadline or have to write those extra 1,900 words over the coming days on top of my daily target.

Why have I only written 600 words? Because I’m unwell today, and that is making the process of writing like pushing a rock up a cliff-face. I have days when writing seems harder–I describe these as wading through treacle–and I do not give in on those days, but today I’ve had enough. I’ve done some work that I can manage and, after dinner, I’m going to take myself off to bed with the two dogs and the wife to watch some Netflix. I’ll get an early night in because that increases the chances that I’ll be back close to 100% tomorrow and I can regain some momentum.

The key to this is to be able to identify when I’m really unwell rather than just a little below 100%.

If I only wrote on days when I’m feeling in tip-top condition, physically or mentally, then I would get nothing done. Nothing at all.

Every time I fail to meet a target makes it harder to finish the project on time.

So, I take the most objective viewpoint I can and, if early bed and a movie is truly needed, early bed and a movie it is. Loving and caring for myself is fundamental to long term productivity.

But I never fail to write for at least ten minutes. Even on the worst days over the past three and a half years, I’ve been able to squeeze out a couple of hundred words over ten minutes. Call it stubborn if you like, but by writing for ten minutes, my day is not an entire failure, momentum is, at least in part, maintained and tomorrow is another day.