I wasn’t inactive yesterday, I did do the task, I just couldn’t be arsed to make a blog post, to be honest. It was a long, hot day and I just wanted to relax.
Yesterday, we had to make a writing to-do list; everything we want to do, or need to do, or have an idea for etc. goes into a list. Now, my list isn’t complete and I will for sure be adding to it, but this is it so far:
I’ve listed all (for now) of the things I want/need to do for my two main current projects, and doodled crap all over the place while I thought. It’s pretty basic, but it felt good to jot down the things I need to do – I love lists. I think most writers love lists. It makes us feel productive, even when we’re not.
Today’s task, bouncing off of all the productive procrastination recently, was just JUST WRITE. Just do it. Do the thing. W R I T E S O M E W O R D S
So, I did. I hashed out a bit more of the first draft, tried tackling the police scene (a couple of things already checked off my list!) and didn’t get very far. My motivation these past few days has been low, but I’ve had a lot going on. The most important thing is I did it. I wrote some words. And now, I’ve written some more words (though not towards my project).
I’m back to work tomorrow, and if it’s anything like last weekend, I won’t get much done until Sunday. I am hoping to get SOMETHING done, but it depends how work goes…
Just a quick post today but it’s day 9, guys! I’m surprised I’ve made it this far, but I’m actually really enjoying myself. Granted, today has been a lazy day and I’ve been feeling very…
but that’s okay!
Today’s task was (strangely enough) productive procrastination again, so I’ve spent today reading and trying to do some more research. I’ve found more useful information than I did yesterday, so that’s good.
Hopefully, I’ll get a bit more done tomorrow; all I want to do is sleep right now.
It’s the start of a new week! I’ve not done much today, as I had work this afternoon and it was a busy old day.
Today’s task was to stop measuring progress by your word count!
I think this is quite important, and something I fall into quite often. ‘Oh, I’ve only written X amount of words, it’s not good enough. I’ve made no progress!’ Well, I’ve not written a great deal all week, but I’ve made loads of progress! I think that’s why keeping the writing tracker is so helpful – not only have I tracked the words I’ve written (2,692 words since Wednesday when I started the tracker, including these blog posts – not a lot on the grand scheme of things, but that’s the point of today, I think), I’ve been tracking the amount of time I’ve spent plotting and researching etc. And it’s all adding up!
Writing – the actual act of forming sentences – is only a minor part of creating a story.
In fact, if we were to completely make up a percentage to illustrate our entirely anecdotal point, ‘writing’ would probably only make up something like 10% of the actual process.
The other 90% is thinking and planning and researching and brain-noodling and moaning to your writing buddies about how hard this all is…
Writer’s HQ email, 8/7/19
I may have only written than 3k, but I’ve spent nearly 6 hours working my short story and this blog since Wednesday. 6 hours is a lot more writing/planning/plotting/researching time than I’ve spent in a long time on anything. Imagine how much time that’ll be when I finally face my first draft novel?
Hopefully, I can get more done over the next few days as I’m not at work!
It’s been a couple of days! I didn’t intend on missing days, but I wasn’t feeling well and work was enough to contend with, so I took a couple days away. Back to it today, though, and spend the afternoon catching up on what I’d missed. I got quite a bit done today!
The tasks I missed were:
Day 5 – be prepared! Have a general overview of your project ie. beginning and end, themes, characters etc so you know what to write/what you’ve already written; find a good place to write ie. quiet, spacious and distraction free; and be organised!
Day 6 – productive procrastination! This includes planning, research, world building, characterisation, READING ( as Stephen King says, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” and I did spend Friday and Saturday reading so I suppose I was still somewhat productive…) etc.
And today’s tasks, day 7 – actually writing, and how to get the most out of a writing session (before starting, refer back to your outline/plan, do a quick freewrite to vomit all those unnecessary thoughts out and maybe find a way through that tricky scene, and work in sprints so you don’t burn out)
I missed quite a bit! But I spent the afternoon going over the notes I’d done (and casting most of them aside), finally figuring out whose point-of-view I wanted to focus on, making a quick plot outline etc etc. And then, I sat down and I wrote.
I used the Pomodoro Technique, setting an alarm for 25 minutes and taking a 5 minute break. I did this while plotting and writing, and I’m not sure if I like it or not – whilst plotting it was great; even 5 minutes gave me space to step away and come back with fresher eyes. But whilst writing, all I wanted to do was write. The stop-start nature of it made me feel a bit whip-lashed whilst writing.
That being said, I managed 1,173 words in 42 minutes, almost double what I did on day 1 (880 words) in an hour! Therefore, something is working!
We’re a week into this and I’ve already achieved more in 7 days than I have in a long time! (Still yet to look at that first draft of my novel, though….) I can’t wait to see what I’ll be doing next!
Today’s task was to create a timetable which relates into the last 3 days, of course, but also into Rachel Aaron’s blog post, which I really liked, but guess what? I’m not going to do it! Not physically, at least. Writing down set times on set days never works for me, be it writing or studying or cleaning, or whatever. I just don’t work well on a schedule, I suppose.
My issue isn’t finding time to write – I know when I have spare time most days – it’s actually making myself write, and no amount of timetabling can help me there. Instead, what I’m going to commit to, is, much like day 1, prioritising my time.
For example, I know that tomorrow, Saturday and Monday, I work in the afternoon, so I know that I have a few hours in the morning and a few in the evening. Now, I’m not going to be writing for that whole time, but I’m going to commit, right here for you all to see, to do at least SOMETHING useful and writerly with that time instead of what I normally do (lie in bed for two hours watching YouTube videos or playing video games).
I didn’t get as much done today as I planned yesterday (I still can’t figure out which POV I want to write this story in) but I did get about 45 minutes in, jotting notes and wracking my brain trying to make decisions. I doubt I’ll get much in over the next few days, as I know what I’m like when I’ve been at work – unmotivated and just lazy. But like WHQ say, as long as I turn up, it matters. They mentioned the Pomodoro Technique, which I have heard of from studying, but I don’t think I’ve ever stuck to it, so I might try that over the weekend.
They also mentioned tracking motivation levels at different times of the day, so that’ll be going on my tracker!
I’ve got plenty to be getting on with, and it’s a new day, a new task tomorrow!
Let me start off by saying I am loving this course. I’ve been more productive in the last 3 days than I have been in forever (not including uni, as that was forced productivity due to actually wanting to pass the module.)
Today’s tasks were:
do your best
I’ll be frank, I have not been doing my best up until July 1st. In fact, I’ve been doing bugger all since the end of my module, and even the work I put into my writing for that was because I had to, not because I wanted to or loved the art of it. Don’t get me wrong, I highly enjoyed A215 and the work I got out of it, but in the past three days, I’ve printed out the first draft of a novel I haven’t worked on in years (with the intention of actually working on it), and I’ve started researching/plotting a new short story. A215 made me fall in love with short stories; I’d never really written one seriously before, and I didn’t know how to do it. Chapters and longer pieces I could do, but squeezing a whole narrative into a few thousands words? How is that possible? But I learned, and I fell in love; I wouldn’t be plotting one now, in my summer break, if I didn’t love it.
But, I also wouldn’t be plotting one now if it wasn’t for Writer’s HQ. I’ve had this idea since before my course ended – so, well over a month – and I’d done nothing towards it. Granted, all I have now is a few notes, but that’s better than nothing!
My current personal best is diddly squat, and I’ve absolutely smashed that in the past three days. My best will definitely change day-to-day depending on how busy I am, how I feel and a myriad of other reasons but on the best day, I can write, very roughly speaking, about 1000 words per hour. That’s great, but I don’t often have the motivation or the time to sit for hours on end to write that much; sometimes I get crippling writer’s block and can barely write 800 words in three hours.
The point is, I still need to do my best, and it’s okay if my ‘best’ changes. As long as I’m a) putting in SOME time each day (see day 1 ) and b) making the most use of my time by breaking it down into manageable goals (see day 2) then I’ll be doing better than my current best.
In today’s email, WHQ referred to a blog post by author Rachel Aaron who explained how she boosted her writing output from 2k to a whopping 10k a day by doing three simple things: plotting, timetabling and making it fun! Now, I don’t think I’m ready for that – she’s a full-time writer, after all, and I am, well, not – but her methods are very simple and really inspired me. After all, I’ve already worked on making time for writing and I’m currently plotting, and it is fun! (Go and read her blog post, seriously; it’s amazingly helpful.)
As shown above, I have no idea what my personal best is word-wise aside from a rough guesstimate, as I’ve never really tracked it. So, how can I beat it if I don’t know it?
I created a tracker based on her own explanation, and plan to use it not only to see what I’ve been doing and to keep track, but to try and push myself. Today, I’ve made a few notes, but written no words (well, I guess I’m writing this blog post and that will go on there when I’m done, but that’s too meta to think about as I’m writing it) so tomorrow, maybe I can finish my notes AND bash out a first draft, or part of a draft (plus a blog post). Just try and up my daily activity from 45 minutes a day to an hour, to two etc. (Just as an aside, I’ve been saying all this without taking this blog – it’s all words, after all! It definitely counts, but for some reason, but brain doesn’t want to say hey, words written are words written, it doesn’t have to be towards a story to count!)
As I said yesterday, baby steps! When you’ve not done something in a while, you can’t just throw yourself in at the deep end; at least, I can’t, because I’ll start panicking and stressing and end up nowhere.
Progress is being made. I’m starting to feel like a writer again! I feel so elated and excited for where this course will take me; I’ve been enjoying myself so much and it’s only day 3. Onwards and upwards!
By this, Writer’s HQ means seeing that someone has written 1,000 words for the day, and stressing because you’ve only written 100. I do this a lot, and not just in my writing.
For example, I’m currently following the Slimming World plan; it’s my second time, and this time is going v e r y s l o w l y. The weight seems to be going absolutely nowhere regardless of how much effort I put in, whereas others in my group lose 4 pounds just by turning up, even if they’ve eaten a whole cake, nine tubs of ice-cream and been to five different restaurants that week.
The same with my writing; if I see someone has written 9 novels in 6 weeks and I’ve written 5 words in a four-month period, I start panicking – why am I so lazy? Why don’t I work harder? This is my dream, isn’t it? So-and-so has 3 children, a full-time job and can still churn out stories on the regular! What am I doing with my life?
So, I’m going to stop and remind myself here and now that I have a somewhat busy life (no children, and only a part-time job, but still, busy enough) and I also have other – personal – issues I have to deal with on a daily basis. I can’t churn out words like a highly-caffeinated robot. Sometimes, I just really can’t be arsed. Could I do more? Absolutely. But do I need to worry about others? No!
Yesterday’s goal is strongly linked to today’s – prioritising writing time and setting aside even 10 minutes a day to jot a few things down. Which leads into today’s second task – to make use of the time by setting realistic goals. I don’t have to write a novel in a month, or six, or six years. I have no strict deadlines; it’ll take as long as it takes, and that’s okay!
I set myself 2 goals; one for today, and one for the week. Today’s main goal was to format and print out the first draft of the NaNoWriMo novel I wrote when I was 16, because it needs a lot of work, and Writer’s HQ reminded me of it’s existence – ‘So, take a good hard look at your work-in-progress’, they said, and so I did… not. But! I opened the document that hasn’t been opened in forever and decided now is the time to do something about it. So, guess what?
I printed it out! (And let me tell you, it is bizarre to see my name like that on a manuscript.)
The goal for the week is to draft a short story idea I’ve had for a while based around a news article I came across. I’m going to be working on that for this week, and my novel can collect some more (literal) dust until I’m ready to read through it. But I’ve taken the first steps to editing! I found that in my creative writing module, it was a lot easier to edit a hard copy than from the screen.
Today’s theme was ‘prioritise your writing’; allowing yourself to write, make yourself put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and just find the time to write.
And I did. I allowed myself an hour after I’d finished work and settled in for the evening and just tapped away at the keyboard. I added 880 words to a first draft I started in November for NaNoWriMo 2018 – that’s 880 words more than I’ve added to it since November!
I don’t think I’m going to work on this draft for the whole month – I might sort through my endless starts of projects and work on a few of them. I don’t have any ideas for this current WIP so I just let the words flow; I’m not even sure if they fit in with what I’d already written – I didn’t read it before I started writing.
But the important thing is that I DID prioritise my writing. I made myself sit down and write for a solid hour. That’s more than I’ve done in weeks and weeks since the end of A215. I hope I can keep it up, even if it’s just 20 minutes a day; I don’t necessarily have to carve out an hour, just some amount of time to dedicate to my writing.
A few weeks turned into nearly two years very quickly! I regret not posting sooner, but every time I felt the urge, something – namely the fact that it’s been so long – held me back. I didn’t want to revive the dead, as such. But, here I am, doing just that!
I wish I could say a lot has happened since August 2017, but it’s not, really. I’ve studied and worked and that’s about it. I’ve been so wrapped up in studying that I not only neglected this blog, I completely forgot about it at times. It wasn’t until someone asked on the module group if people have blogs – and people urged me to post again – that I considered it. I’ve always said this blog is for me, it’s my space to write and think and experiment, and I feel bad, now, that I stopped. I love that there are (were?) people that followed along, and I’m sorry, if any of you are still here, that I abandoned it.
But hey, I’m back! I’m not going to stick myself to any kind of schedule; I’m past that – I’m past making promises that I know I won’t keep, even to myself. This is going to be a blog for if and when I want to post, to document my journey, not to force myself through it.
A215 is over, and I had plans for June, but now it’s July! I have a few short stories under my belt now, of which I want to see if I can get published. I won’t be able to post them on here, unfortunately, but I’m hoping to build up my repertoire enough so I can do both; submit to my blog and submit to competitions and/or publications. I have submitted one, and I’m waiting for the fateful day soon to see if I was successful!
I am partaking in Writer HQ’s ‘Turbocharge Your Writing’ free course this July, so I’m hoping to post about that…
I think that’s enough rambling for now. It’s good to be back!
Until next time!
PS. I have no idea what happened to the Magicians’ work I was posting on here, but I need to go back to that and do something with it! (And me working on my NaNo 2012 novel didn’t get very far, jsyk.)
PPS. I’m sorry again that it’s been so long. Sorry to myself, and sorry to any of you that may still be out there.
It’s been too long. But I’ve been in a massive rut and I don’t really think I’m out of it yet. But I think I’m getting there…
I’m doing without the 500 words of writing today, and going back to a plain old blog post. My writing excerpts wll undoubtedly be back, just not today. Today I just need to brainstorm and write my thoughts out.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what I’m doing (or evidently not doing – it’s been nigh on a month since my last post!). I’ve thought a lot about my life and writing and if it’s the right path for me. I love writing, and after a lot of hard thinking and doubting and stress, I’ve decided that it is what I want to do. I love it. But I come up with all these ideas and I never do anything with them. I might make a blog post or two, tell myself I’ll work on it, and never do. It’s disappointing and it puts me off, quite frankly. This blog is great; it helps me get my thoughts out there and everything, but I’m finding myself stressing out because I haven’t made a post in weeks and I have nothing to write about, so I end up forcing myself to write something, which is horrid. I should write because I love it, not because I feel I have an obligation to do it.
Therefore, I’m not going to worry about it anymore. If I don’t put a blog post up in a few weeks, so be it. If anyone is still following this blog at this point, you’re used to it anyway! So fuck it. I’ve always said, this blog is primarily for me. I love that there are regulars that follow it, and I love seeing new people on here or my Twitter; it makes me feel less alone. Nevertheless, this blog is documentation for my own sake.
So, today I decided to revisit the first draft of the only novel I’ve written. It’s not where I started as I writer, but it’s one of my proudest achievements, despite how garbage it is. It’s a little over 50,000 words – the longest piece I’ve ever written – and I wrote it for NaNoWriMo in 2012. I’ve mentioned it before. I’ve even mentioned revisiting it before, but I’ve actually started on it already. Before, it was a nice idea but I never did it; now, I’m doing it before even thinking about it. This novel, or idea or scrap or draft or whatever you want to call it (because let’s be real, it’s far from a novel) was the most work I have ever put into my writing. It made me happy and it infuriated me and it made me love and hate writing within the space of seconds. I was seventeen when I wrote it. I wrote it in a month. It’s not good, but no first draft ever is. I tried editing it in early 2013, and because I had no idea what I was doing, I gave up. And then I tragically lost all of my notes and research and world-building when my laptop broke and I doubly gave up.
I’ve not touched it in a good four years. But I think now is the time where I need to go back. I need to go right back to basics and revisit that joy and achievement. I’m not expecting to get a novel out of it any more than you can expect to get blood from a stone, but I’m hoping it’ll reignite that spark inside of me that made me love writing. I want to love it again. I want to feel proud and accomplished and productive. I want to write for the joy of writing again, not because I have to. I have anther month and a half until uni starts back up, so I have all this free time. I hate forcing myself to write, so I’m taking a huge step back.
I’ll revisit my successes and see where it leads me. And if I don’t make a post on here for another month, so be it. When I come back, I want to come back loving the game again, not forcing myself into it.