If the Success Glove doesn’t fit, you must BIC Commit.
Okay, so that’s a corny attempt to rhyme in order to refer to the famous O.J. Simpson trial line, but my statement remains true. If you’re having trouble successfully sticking to your writing goals (or any long-term goal you make for yourself), you’d better try some form of a BIC Commit.
“What in the world?” you’re probably asking yourself right now. Never heard of BIC? I’m not talking about the lighter brand! BIC is an acronym for Butt In Chair, as in if you keep your butt in the chair, you’re more likely to get somewhere—somewhere along the road closer to your goal, that is. BIC is making a commitment, and having an accountability partner.
My author friend Robin Allen, who wrote the Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop amateur sleuth mystery series, is the one who introduced me to BIC. She has been my BIC partner for five years.
There are different options on how to go about doing BIC. One pair of writers might do BIC based on pages, as in how many pages do they want to commit to writing a day. Another pair might choose word count as their BIC commitment, stating they will write so many words per day. Robin and I decided our BIC would be based on time.
At the start of each year, Robin and I each decide how much time we think can dedicate to writing each day, then we state that goal to the other. At the end of each day (or first thing the next morning), we will type an email to each other stating how many hours we wrote that specified day.
For example, when we started doing BIC in 2012, I made the commitment to write one hour a night Monday-Thursday and two hours on Fridays. So, I’d make sure to write at least one hour on Monday, then send an email to Robin either Monday night before bed or early Tuesday morning, informing her how many hours I did write and a brief summary of what I wrote, such as: “One hour BIC on Monday, writing the intro paragraphs for the break-up scene.”
If we didn’t meet our stated daily goal, it couldn’t be for something as simple as “I was too tired.” In Robin’s words, “If you don’t write, you better have a really good reason that involves blood and/or death. I’m sort of kidding, but not really.”
Robin’s threat, err, “condition” about being a BIC partner, absolutely propelled me—on multiple occasions—to get that writing time in because I didn’t want to “look bad” in front of Robin. So, even if I truly was exhausted by life’s daily obstacles and challenges, I made a serious effort to honor my BIC commitment.
And trust me—I had multiple hindrances and trials in my personal and professional life while writing my first novel. This is why I wish I’d met Robin 15 years ago, instead of just five! You can check out my “Persevere” blog post https://melindafreeland.com/2017/04/17/persevere/ to get the details on that subject.
A BIC Commit can work for more than just writing goals. A couple of years after Robin and I had been sending each other our BIC Reports, Robin decided to hold off on writing novels for a bit, and try her hand at becoming a Knitwear Designer. So, her new BIC commitment became she would spend so many hours per day with her Butt In a Chair knitting instead of writing. I still sent her emails about how many hours per day I spent writing, and she’d send me emails about hours knitting.
Now that you know about the BIC Commit, don’t you want to sit for just a little bit?