Well, I’ve officially pushed myself to the point where the minor cold I’ve been fighting all month has fully developed. I’m actually going to need to make sure I get enough sleep every night because I can’t just caffeinate my way through a cold. Nor can I DayQuil my way through one, not really. If I had any sense, I’d take the day off tomorrow so I can sleep before I spend the rest of the week traveling for the holiday. Truth be told, I have so much sense that one of my graphic designer friends made me a little icon that I can send to people with a label that says “Mr. Good Plan Certified Good Plan.” I have some pretty stellar friends.
That being said, I managed to get my writing done last night after my D&D session. I had started it before the session, but 2400 of the 2800 words I wrote last night happened during the last two hours of my day. It feels nice to be back into the writing game, able to throw up something close to my old numbers. The quality’s still a bit lower than I used to produce at this speed, but I’m also pretty exhausted. I don’t typically get 4-6 hours of sleep every night during any month other than NaNoWriMo. Usually, I just write 4 or 5 nights a week, whenever I’m not filling an evening with video games or reading, and there’s no word count goal for every day. That means I don’t wind up staying up an extra hour or two just to finish for the day. I just stop writing when I get sleep and go to bed.
I’ve actually had a few friends and one coworker ask me why I’m subjecting myself to this much stress and exhaustion, beyond the feelings of fulfillment. Which is a fair question. I’d feel just as fulfilled if I was writing at a less demanding pace and I’d also feel a lot less like crap. Trying to meet a goal like updating my blog every day and writing 50,000 words in a month is about more than fulfillment, though. It’s a challenge. Its something I’ve never done before and I want to see if I can. I want to push myself to my limits and see if I can push those limits out further. I want to remind myself of what I’m capable of doing if I’ve set my mind and aligned myself toward one goal. If I succeed at this, I’ll have updated my blog every day and written not just 50,000 words in a month, but written almost 40,000 of those words in only two weeks. A couple of years ago, for one of NaNoWriMo’s “Camp NaNoWriMo” events, I wrote 40,000 words in four weeks. Now I’ll know that, next summer, I’ll be able to do twice that many words.
Assuming I succeed, of course. I’ve got a head cold now, so all bets are off. We’ll see how things go after I’ve slept in tomorrow.
By the very definition of the phrase, no one enjoys being told something they don’t want to hear. Some of us handle it with more grace than others and some of us willingly subject ourselves to these things if we think they’re in our best interest. Despite our grace or our willingness, the end result of being told what we didn’t want to hear can be unpredictable depending on the subject matter itself and what seems like something that shouldn’t be a big can quickly become one. Write a scene in which your character is subjected to something they didn’t want to hear and then have them react differently than expected.
Today’s inspiration is my favorite D&D comic and my favorite place to go for esoteric rules and game-breaking character builds for version 3.5 of Dungeons and Dragons, Giantitp.com. Giant In The Playground, as the website’s banner reads, is the host of the Order of the Stick comic, which is one of the longest running D&D comics I’ve read and the story is amazingly well-written, with plot-twists at all the right moments and epic scenes that draw you in despite the fact that it has a rather slow update “schedule.” The characters are represented by stick figures, but you can easily tell the artist puts a lot of work and effort into the comic by the detailed backgrounds and how consistent everything is from one panel to the next. If you like D&D comics, good story-telling, excellent villains, and can appreciate jokes made about weird D&D rules, this comic is right up your alley!
One skill that is essential to develop is you want to be a writer is discipline. All the inspiration and motivation in the world won’t do you any good if you are not disciplined enough to sit down and write regularly. If you keep it up long enough, you’ll move beyond the need for inspiration and motivation (though they’ll always be welcome). Like any habit you’re trying to establish, writing during the same time period every day can help you get more done every day. During my more prolific times, I would sit down and write from 8 until 10 every evening. Two hours, at least, of writing every day. I’d get about 2500 words written a day on average and it only ever got easier to sit down and write every day. On Weekends, I wrote from 10 until noon every morning, getting a little less done on most days but more frequently letting my writing time leak into the rest of the day. Creating a schedule will help in the same way, even if your writing time isn’t at the same time every day. Discipline is the key to consistency and consistency is the key to writing success.