It’s been a rough six months, writing wise.
Call it pure writing ADD. Months and months of jumping from project to project, leaving everything half written and 100% incomplete. This includes multiple short stories and THREE novels. I’m pretty sure if you added up all of those words, I would have over 80k, a novel in itself (albeit a pretty nonsensical one). I don’t know what was wrong with me but I kept on writing myself into corners, getting frustrated, and giving up. And even more frustrating is that this unfocused antsy attitude seemed to bleed into other areas of my life as well.
I was beginning to wonder what the point was. After all, the phrase was “three strikes and you’re out” right? I had failed with three books, so wasn’t I already out? Then I had a frustrating, albeit completely different situation at one of my jobs related to some accounting issues. You see, I’m not good at the maths, and at that moment it was really becoming obvious to me. I found myself exclaiming aloud that I wasn’t a numbers person. It’s why I work in a library, after all. And then a volunteer/friend said something that really stuck with me. How if I wasn’t a numbers person, nothing I did, no matter how hard I tried was ever going to change that. It wasn’t going to work.
And it struck me as some of the worst advice I had ever received.
She probably didn’t mean it this way. She was probably just trying to be sympathetic. But to me, those words meant one very simple thing: if things get hard, give up, because it’s never going to get easier. And that’s not something I ever want to believe. Not with work, and not with writing, two areas in which I have (not to pat myself on the back) overcome some tricky challenges.
We’re in March now, meaning that Spring is on its way (although living in Maine has taught me to expect that April fools day storm). And what better time for changing your habits then a season of change? I’m currently halfway through writing a first draft of a new novel (manged to get 40k out during the month of February, and all thanks to Rachel Aaron’s 2k to 10k ebook, something I hope to blog about soon). So now that I have an idea that I’m excited about, the key is to get disciplined. I used to be great at finding time to write every day, even when my jobs kept me out of the house from 9AM to 9PM. There’s no reason why I can’t make it work now.
In order to help me with this, I’m going back to a method that used to help me out during NaNoWriMo. I’ve printed out a calendar. It’s a standard one, with blocks for each date. Starting today, in each one of those blocks I’m going to write down how long I’ve written that day, and my total word count. My goal is to write for an hour every day, first thing in the morning, until the draft is done. But even on the days when I can’t get in that full hour, I need to make sure I get in thirty minutes. After all, this particular goal is just as much about creating positive habits as it is about finishing this draft. And if I want to write every day, I need to write every day.
I was a lot happier when I was writing every day, because even when life was frustrating, I had one accomplishment. I was a writer. I’m hoping that becoming more efficient with my writing will help me with my overall productivity. I’d like to go back to blogging more, for example. But for this week, let’s focus on the important thing, the writing, on not giving up even if it’s hard. Because I really do like this new novel I’m working on and I feel like I can make worth my efforts if I’m willing to spend the time on it.
Wish me luck.