In the grand scheme of things, Yesterday was a decent day. I got plenty done despite staying up super late the night before and forgetting I had a therapy appointment first thing int he morning until it was too late to get more than five hours of sleep. I then caffeinated myself to compensate and pretty much ruined any ability to focus I might have ever possessed so I only got another six thousand words written. Which, you know, it still a crap-ton of words. It’s just also not as many as I wanted to get done. Eight thousand would have been good for today. It’d have gotten me back on track. That being said, if I can do another six thousand tomorrow, I’ll be all caught up since all of the support writing stuff is done except my daily reflections and tips for these posts. It’s hard to write a reflection on a day that hasn’t happened yet, but it’s fine. This is about one thousand words of stuff and I can jam that out in thirty to forty-five minutes these days. The only question is how good my focus is when I write this and, seeing as I’m writing this after midnight again, I can confidently say my focus is crap.
I should probably stop complaining. I wrote six thousand words today and that’s only if I actually go to bed after this is done. If I decide to stay up a little later to get some more work done on the romance novel that’s been sitting at the bottom of my priority list, then that could easily go up. Once I’ve got the opening worked out, stories usually tend to go pretty quickly at first. Thanks to the outlining I did on the first, I’ve already got that part worked out so it should be pretty easy to do one thousand words before I decide to pack it in for the night. Or maybe I’ll just got to bed and get some freaking sleep for once in my freaking life. It’s like I’m allergic to a good night’s rest.
To be fair, the loud music that is coming from my neighbor’s side of the duplex, like it does every goddamn Friday from ten in the evening until two or three in the morning, discourages sleep. It’s a been a bit quieter than usual, lately, mostly after midnight, though. I wonder if one of my roommates complained. I doubt it. They could sleep through a tornado. Maybe the neighbor on the other side complained. There’s an air gap and the exterior walls are thicker than the one separate the two halves of the duplex, so it seems unlikely. Maybe he just decided to stop being an asshole before I lost my temper and called the cops on him. Originally, we were going to ignore it because we can be loud at times and it’s usually best to try to stay on good terms with your neighbors, but this is every Friday like clockwork and we maybe noise late at night once every few months.
Night like tonight are a bit easier. I can turn my fan to the max setting, set up some quiet music I can sleep through (from long practice. This has been my sleep music playlist since I was 13 and had my own room for the first time), and turn on the Rainy Mood app. The calming sound of rain and thunder always helps cover up the shitty bass pounding through the walls. Some days I’m pretty sure it only feels worse. Today, it’s pretty quiet, but I can’t unhear it tonight, no matter what I do, so it’s incredibly grating. I might need to meditate myself to sleep tonight to forcibly get my mind off the frustrating bland club-style music he listens to.
Anyway, that’s probably a good summary of my day. Unfocused, frustrated by petty shit I refuse to address in a constructive manner, and so focused on trying to get more writing done that I’ve ruined any real chance I had at productivity by continuing to try to focus instead of letting myself take a break. Honestly, if I’d just gone and played video games for a few hours this afternoon instead of mindlessly procrastinating on writing Inspiration segments, I’d probably have gotten eight thousand words written and been asleep for an hour by now. Lesson learned. I’ll try again in the morning, once I’ve gotten more than 5 hours of sleep at night. That’ll be a nice feeling.
Good luck today! I hope you’re hitting your targets and making solid progress on your goals!
Most stories have a star. The Protagonist. In some stories, there are several protagonists. Whoever they are, however many there are, they are the people who the story happens to. They have agency and they use it to push the story forward. No protagonist chooses to lay down and die when it’s that or fight back somehow. If they do, they’re not the protagonist. They might sacrifice themselves, but that’s still their choice. Behind all this, though, they have something that drives them. This is their reason for making decisions, for choosing to act, for resisting whatever is happening. Today, write about what drives your protagonist(s) toward the end of your story. You could work it into their introduction or figure out how or when you want to reveal it later, but it’s important to establish why they do what they do.
In the last year or so of the comic, Order of the Stick, we have seen some amazing developments that have been years in the making. We have seen the resolution of stories that began when I first started reading this comic back during the Azure city sage and we have seen stuff I thought was a throw-away gag come to fruition. Stories that were foreshadowed have come to pass and events long prophesied have finally made their dramatic entrance. Low, have I wondered about the various colors of the gods and now we finally have our answers. This gets me excited about the potential for long-term storytelling available in forms like comics and dungeons and dragons that generally require a big chunk of time to come to an end.
While National Novel Writing Month prioritizes a word-count goal, you probably shouldn’t focus on that yourself. If you’re constantly checking how many words you’ve written, you’re just going to continuously break your concentration. Instead, try pages. A little bit under three pages using standard fonts and pages in most word processors should be your goal, if you’re writing single-spaced. You can get about get about six hundred words on a page, as long as you’re not constantly breaking onto new lines for a bunch of short lines of back-and-forth dialogue. If it’s double-spaced, you’re at about three hundred fifty words a page and you should aim for five and a half pages.
Really, though, the goal of this thinking is to stop you from focusing on getting enough words written to stop and keep you focused on telling the story. If you focus on sitting down to write every day, you’ll get your words in eventually. Don’t worry about the count, worry about who is going to move the scene along. Stop when you run out of writing time, start to doze off, or otherwise reach a logical end point for the day. If you write more than your daily amount, that’s not a bad thing. I guarantee there will be at least one day where stuff keeps coming up and you barely get anything written. Then you’ll be glad for that extra few hundred words a day you’ve been producing. So don’t mind the word count (and disable it if it’s easily visible anywhere in your word processor), and just focused on the act of spitting out more words for your story.