Well, yesterday was an entirely normal day. I got everything done I was supposed to do for that day. There’s still more I could have done, but given how my weekend went prior to yesterday, “normal” is a damn good accomplishment. Middling productive, only marginally stressful, and entirely too long. Seriously. Daylight Saving Time always screws with my ability to perceive the passage of time so I feel like it is several hours later than the clock tells me. It was worse yesterday because of how terribly I’ve been sleeping lately, and I went to bed a good deal earlier than I normally would.
Today’s going to be a busy day, too. It’s my first day back at work after my break and I’m concerned about how I’m going to write my four thousand or more words in just the time I have after work since I might need to stay late at work on account of the projects I’m trying to wrap up. I also generally have D&D on Monday nights, but I’ve cancelled my participation in it on account of the stuff that happened over the weekend. I’m not going to have fun, nor will I be any fun, so it was best to just stay away for a week while I try to focus on getting my stuff worked out. Plus, it’s going to be difficult to maintain my nightly pace of four thousand words on nights when I have anything else to do. Ideally, I could do all that in about four hours, but the ideal is rarely the case. Planning on six hours is much more likely. And I still want to write the Coldheart and Iron post that’s supposed to go up tomorrow and that’s another two to three and a half thousand words worth of writing that almost always takes a little over an hour per thousand to write since I need to look up stuff and reference past chapters. I tried to get some of it done last night, but I just hit a wall.
I’m still really worn out, despite the sleep. This emotional stuff is taking quite a toll on me. I’m worried I’m entering the loop I took all of last week off to avoid. I’m still technically behind from Saturday’s day of rest, thought I’ve already taken steps toward catching up in almost everything. I’ve gotta confront the reality of whether or not I can actually write three stories at once (What You Know You Need, Spicing Things Up, and Coldheart and Iron) because wanting to do it isn’t going to get me through the nights of lessened sleep it’ll probably require. I’ve already got enough of an extra challenge between National Novel Writing Month blog updates and the romance novel. I don’t need to keep doing weekly updates for a Science Fiction story almost no one reads. Tuesdays are my worst days for views because almost no one cares about the story I’m writing. I know a few people who all say they’ll read it once it’s complete, but those are the people I talk to who are the closest to reading it. I could skip a month of updates, leave the last four chapters for January instead of trying to wrap it up on Christmas thereby saving myself some time and sanity… It’s certainly an appealing thought. It’s not like I don’t have enough other crap to do.
The question just remains to figure out what I really want. More rest and downtown, or to have the story finished on Christmas Day. My initial reaction says the latter, but my common sense says the former. It’s hard to argue with either side since they both have good arguments. Not writing it would be limiting myself. Writing it would be pushing myself toward a vicious cycle of doing nothing but writing and sacrificing sleep on the altar of potential productivity. To make it all worse, I’m still super tired and probably not in the right frame of mind to make a decision since my tired impulse always says “do it anyway” but also “just go to bed and sleep for a long time.”
I mean, I’ve already written over eighteen thousand words. It’s not like I’ve gotten nothing done or I’m not already doing enough. I’m doing plenty. I probably should dial it down a bit. But having time and energy for a little more is easier to allocate when I’ve got projects to switch between with smaller goals rather than “spend the extra time doing an open-ended extra amount of typing in your NaNoWriMo project!” I do most of my extra writing by rounding out word totals to interesting numbers, finishing scenes, or letting the writing carry me along when I find bits that are easy to add. Concrete extra projects and definable goals are my thing.
Anyway, I hope you’re making progress on your goals, whatever they are, and I hope the fifth day of National Novel Writing Month goes well for you! Good luck and know that you’re doing a great job! Keep it up!
Before your protagonist became a protagonist, they had some kind of life. Maybe they were a sad orphan with no home and nothing but verbal abuse and child labor to fill their formative years, or maybe they lived in the lap of luxury with a silver spoon in their life. Maybe their life was entirely unremarkable before this point aside from a few key traits that set them up for the circumstances of the story. Whatever the reason, it’s important to know who your protagonist was so you can figure out how to turn them into the person they’re supposed to be by the end of the story. Today, write about your protagonist’s past and how it’s relevant to the story you’re telling today.
One of my favorite books that has an amazing character building experience throughout it, is Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen (Aka, Delilah Dawson). There’s a plot involving the protagonist trying to avenge a murder and bring down some kind of terrible monster in the Old-Time Fantasy Wild West, but most of the book involves the protagonist exploring and developing a sense of self that they find comfortable. Even as the story draws to a close, the protagonist is learning more and more about themselves and their past, which in turn informs the person they’re becoming as they are pushed to the absolute limits of what they are willing to put up with or what they can learn to live with. If you want to read some masterful character development, you really need to check this book out.
If you’re struggling to focus because you’re tired or you can’t seem to get your brain away from whatever thought it’s been picking at all day, try taking a nap or meditating! A short nap, about fifteen to thirty minutes, should be plenty to get you feeling awake and alert again, unless you’re like me and don’t actually sleep so much as crash as a result of your sleep debt every time you lay down your head. If you’re someone like that, you should probably skip the naps and head straight to the meditation. That’s what I do. A simple guided meditation (plenty of which you can find on YouTube) can go a long way to clearing your head or making you feel more mentally focused and physically relaxed. Naps are good, but meditation is usually better if you’re any good at it.