Writing Challenge: Day 10

Today was awful: 727 words. I’m now 3602 words behind. After yesterdays 4901 words it’s a huge let down, but I also know I can do that, so it’s encouraging too? I guess?

My time was limited today: orthodontist appointment for my 9yo and then a meeting with his teacher ate up a big part of the day. But I also wasn’t really writing when I had the time. I did some re-reading (which is the opposite of what you’re supposed to do during a NaNo style writing session)  and I realized I’d forgotten a few things in the first 23k so I had to go back and add them in. It wasn’t a lot of words, but it took time to find the right spot, alter what needed to be done, and find the right words.

Anyway, tomorrow will be even worse. I have a meeting in the morning and a field trip in the afternoon. Maybe I just need a weekend away from everything to crank out some serious numbers to pad my total word count so these off days aren’t hurting my bottom line so much. Unfortunately I don’t see that happening.

Well, back to it tomorrow. Even if I only get 500 words out, it’s 500 I didn’t have when I woke up. You have to look on the bright side.

Status Sheet 10102017

Writing Challenge: Day 9

I had a good day today: 4901 words. Considering I had the three littles home today and swimming practice for one of the boys, that’s pretty good. Actually, that’s pretty damn good! I’m still 1587 in deficit, but considering I started the day 3736 words negative I can’t be unhappy with my progress.

I had planned to get up at 7am this morning and write since I knew having the boys home could really hamper my writing time. But when 7am rolled around I decided I would stay in bed, think about what I wanted to write today, and get a little more rest. Turns out this was an excellent decision.

The words flowed so much better today. Maybe it was that little bit of preparation I put in this morning, or maybe I’m just getting into the story more. Whatever it is I actually had a bit of that magical feeling when you write a scene you really love. Something that shows who your characters are in a deep way. It’s an amazing feeling.

So don’t be afraid to just think about your story. I like to do this while I’m going to sleep at night, when I’m driving long distances on a highway, folding laundry, or basically doing anything that allows me to think about the story and not ignore my family.

I have another busy week of field trips, doctor’s appointments and meetings, so hopefully I’ll be able to get in the appropriate writing time. With any luck the words will keep flowing like they did today!

Status Sheet 10092017

Writing Challenge: Day 8

I didn’t have a lot of time to write today so I only achieved 1919 words. I am 3746 in deficit. But, those were 1919 words I didn’t think I was going to get today, so I’m not too unhappy.

And instead I went to a pumpkin farm with 4 of my 5 kids and with friends and their kids. My son calls their son his long lost brother, so anything is worse getting those boys together!

Tomorrow is up in the air. I will write, but my boys have the day off school, so it could be limited. I am not afraid to use cartoons once in a while to get some writing time in and let’s be honest, I’m going to do that for part of the day. So we’ll see how much progress I make.

The good news is the words are starting to come more easily. The characters are beginning to form themselves in my mind and on the page. And isn’t it funny how you can do all the research, plotting, and character sketches you want, once the words appear on the page the characters sometimes have a life of their own. One of my main characters was supposed to be sweet and naive, but now she’s turning out a little snarky and kind of morose and morbid. Strangely, I’m kind of good with it. I like her better now.

Wish me luck! If I don’t catch up soon I’m going to get really frustrated, but right now trying to focus on the end game and the fact that I am making daily progress, even if it isn’t as big as I’d like.

Status Sheet 10082017

Writing Challenge: Day 7

So my 9yo came home from school talking about ‘opportunity costs’ the other day.  You know, the thing where you only have so much money or time for the things you want and you have to choose what is  most important or you want the most, and the opportunity cost of that is not getting the other thing you want.

For example: if your daughter who lives two hours away comes home for the weekend bringing her new boyfriend, the opportunity cost might be that you didn’t get to write very much on Saturday.

You guys.

I wrote 418 words.

I don’t regret it at all.

It’s not like I never get to see my daughter. It happens every couple of weeks and we talk on the phone. But this is where putting family first comes in. I don’t know how much work I will get done today because she’s s till here and all my boys are home. It’s the weekend. Yes, I can get words on the page, but time is going to be limited for that. And it’s an opportunity cost I’m willing to accept.

Doesn’t mean I”m not frustrated about it a little. I’d really like to catch up and stay on track with my goals. But we’re only on Day 7. I have plenty of time (and hopefully a life that’s a little calmer and less chaotic) for the words to flow. Which of course is another problem. But I’ll handle it as it comes.

As writers, we have to accept opportunity costs all the time. If you have an 8hr/day job 5 days/week, we have an obligation to show up at a certain times. But if you’re a creative who sets their own hours, we have to decide when to create and what we’re willing to give up to do that.

Status Sheet 10072017

Writing Challenge: Day 6

I wrote 3333 words on Day 6, exceeding my daily goal of 2742, but I’m still 599 behind on my total word count goal. I really wanted to make up the entire 1190 word deficit, but at 9pm I still had a thousand words to go and a few hundred  is usually all I can achieve that late at night (with the TV on!)

The dedicated writer would have been writing alone in their bedroom where their writing desk is. I probably could have pumped out a thousand words last night if I’d done that, but I need to see my husband for a little bit too. Even if he’s watching TV and I’m trying (and failing) to write, at least we’re in the same room and able to talk to each other.

If we are ignoring our relationships to write, that might be a problem. Everyone is different and I realize some writers feel the need to seclude themselves from other people and other distractions while they work, but for many of us that’s only not impossible, it’s not healthy.

We all have to make the best decisions for our writing, our loved ones, and our own mental health, and I can get so focused on my work that I do neglect relationships. But I know that isn’t the kind of writer I want to be. My husband and my kids are the most important part of my life, even if I sometimes let my writing creep into first place. So I have to re-evaluate my schedule and make sure that I have time for all of the people and things that I love.

Status Sheet 10062017

Writing Challenge: Day 5

I’m 1190 words behind!!!!!

Okay, this is the first day that I’m actually irritated about this. Even though it was unavoidable. I spent the first half of the day taking my 9yo to the doctor’s office so that meant I only had 2 1/2 hours to actually write in the afternoon. I had a little bit of time after the boys were in bed, but my husband had the TV on (Will & Grace!!) which is not conducive to a productive atmosphere. So I fell very short of my goal, and even added onto the word count deficit.

And I’m finding it hard to get the words out no matter what. I read an article by John Scalzi about being a creative in the Trump-era, (view here) and it totally rings true: It’s hard! And Kaila Hale-Stern wrote a follow-up piece you can view here, so it’s not just one person’s opinion on this.

Now I’m not blaming all of my writing woes on Trump. There are several other reasons writing is difficult right now. But does his reign of terror and ignorance contribute to my overall drained ability to be positive and creative? Hell yes!

I know a lot of people have said that this time period will also generate a lot of socially aware art, and it will. I know I felt a renewed drive to create works of fiction that will impact teens in a positive way right after the election. But it will also be some of the most painfully difficult art to produce. Hopefully that will make it all the more important for future generations.

But it’s still hard as hell some days. So keep plugging away. We need to focus on the end game, not just daily goals.

Status Sheet 10052017


Writing Challenge: Day 4

I am behind 1060 words!!!

Buuut I’m okay with it.

So on my Day 3 post I talked about feeling like I “wasn’t in the groove” and that I wasn’t prepared. I knew that that feeling would haunt me making it difficult to fully focus on my writing if I didn’t do something about it, so yesterday I skipped my morning workout and cut into my writing time a bit to craft a backstory timeline and a rudimentary plot outline.

I actually feel relieved that it’s done! It’s going to make putting the words on the page so much easier. I could already tell during the little bit of actual words-on-the-page writing time I had yesterday that it was already working.

Having an outline (no matter how simple) helps me to focus on where I’m going and not worry so much about if I missed something important. It also helps that in order to make that outline I skimmed all my notes on this WIP, so when I came to a plot point I’d add it to the list with the page numbers where I talk about it! My notes are random, jotting down whatever I think when I think about it, so having page number references when I want to go over my original ideas about a certain plot point is phenomenal! Saves a lot of wasted time searching and missing information where I wrote about it on Page 89 of the notebook, but most of the notes are on Page 30-32.

Anyway, so despite losing a bunch of writing time yesterday, I’m excited to get back to it now (even though I lost the whole morning taking my son to the doctors!) Once again, I’m suspecting I won’t meet my goals, but strangely enough I’m still feeling really positive about this experience. My “failures” are unavoidable because like all of us I have a life to lead outside of my laptop, and they aren’t insurmountable either! I can catch up with a day or two of really focused writing. With an outline, I feel confident I can do that!

Staus Sheet 10042017