I bit off more than I could chew yesterday. I got home and tried to focus and write for four hours and got nowhere. I wish I’d just called it after the first hour because I’d have at least done something relaxing with my time. But I just wanted to get it all done like I’d planned. Which is the downside to goals, I guess. Especially big ones like the ones I was throwing around yesterday. It’s important to know the difference between “possible” and “likely.” I leaned too hard on the possible part and paid no attention to how unlikely it was that I’d have the energy and focus to do that much writing after a full day of work and stuff. I probably need more sleep, a bit of actual relaxation, and then I’ll be good to write.
I think the goals are good, I’m just still recovering. So I’m going to dial them back a bit and aim for that. The blog post counts are pretty much going to stay the same since nothing is going to stop me from updating my blog every day, but I probably won’t pre-write all the Tips for the rest of the month. It’s a bit of a pain to try to come up with them at the end of a night of writing, but it’ll still be easier to do that once a day over this weekend than to try to jam out nineteen extra at some point in the next few days. I’ll aim for reaching fifteen thousand words in my National Novel Writing Month project, which is pretty much what I should be writing every day according to the NaNoWriMo thing, and I’ll drop my word count for the romance novel down to six thousand. Sure, I’ll have most of tomorrow afternoon and evening to write since I’m up a few hours at work, but I’ll be busy most of Saturday so I’ve really only got two days to spend on writing. Saturday, like yesterday, will be just about getting as many words done as possible before or after helping my friend move to her new house and then doing the requisite amount of hanging out before I bounce. As much as I’d love to spend some time with my friends, I would also like to get some writing done and rest up for next week. Next week is when I’m going to try to get back to it, hardcore mode.
I say “hardcore” mode like I’m going to step up my game to some new insane level, but that’s kind of the theme of the entire month. I’ve had three good days out of the last eight and I wrote twenty-three thousand words in that time. If I kept up that pace every day and wrote just my NaNoWriMo project, I’d have the whole thing done in a week.
Maybe that’s what I should do. Set aside the romance novel and just do the next forty-two thousand words of my novel over the next seven days (leaving a little room for blog writing), and then swap to my romance novel to do the same. That could work. Except for the fact that I know it won’t since seven-thousand words a day is an unsustainable pace during a work week and I still also want to do my Coldheart and Iron weekly posts, so that’s an extra two or three thousand words. Plus, as I said above, there’s a big difference between “possible” and “likely.”
So let’s just stick to my tame goals and then, when I’m rested, I’ll figure out how to fix up my plans so I can still accomplish all my goals for the month. I know I can still do it. I’ve been off to worse starts than this, percentage-wise. I doubt I’ve ever been this far off on word-counts, though. I should be at about thirty-two thousand words for the month as of the end of yesterday, but I’m only at twenty-seven thousand five hundred. Which isn’t a bad place to be, it’s just behind on all my metrics because I’ve only been consistent about blog posts and I can’t ride that minimum daily count for any longer before it starts to put me way behind. I mean, I’m only five thousand words behind schedule and that’s about five hours of work if I can focus. So who knows, maybe I’ll catch up. I feel pretty far behind, though, so I’m not sure the “projected total” and “actual total” are actually giving me the information a quick analysis says they do.
Okay, I crunched the numbers and everything’s further off. I should be at eight thousand words for my romance novel (at a minimum) and I’m only at two thousand and all those are getting tossed out because I need to fix how I’m writing it. I’m at eight thousand five hundred words in my National Novel Writing Month project and I should be at thirteenth and a third thousand words. So I’m essentially thirteen thousand words behind my word count totals. Which is about what I’d make up if I’d actually gone with the goals I stated yesterday.
I think that I’m going to keep my more reasonable goals for this weekend and just see where I am when I get there. Maybe I can push for some extra words every day to make up for being behind. An extra thousand every day would catch me up in no time. Four thousand words a day plus blog posts. Doesn’t seem like much when I say it like that, looking at my daily totals from past days, but it’s going to be difficult.
I’m going to take my advice from a few days ago and just focus on non-numeric goals. No time, no word count, just moving down the page and marking off story beats. It’s good advice. I should listen to myself more often. Anyway, I hope your day goes well, that you make good progress today, and that you can find the time to step away long enough to breathe and prepare yourself for the next dive. Good luck!
Unless you’re trying to write period literature based on stories from over one thousand years ago (if you are, I wish you the best of luck and I hope you let me know because I live stories from back then), your characters are probably going to grow and change. Maybe the entire story is about your protagonist growing and changing. Whatever part of the story it is, growth is important to show. For today, write a scene showing your protagonist growing. You could show them reflecting on a time when they would have made a difference choice or you could even show them growing by having them change the way they’re responding to whatever situation is causing their growth. It can be as little or as big as you want, but show it to us, don’t just tell us about it.
Sometimes, you just need to have an uncomplicated fun time. Most people don’t really think of Twitter when they think of places they can go for a fun time, especially considering how many nazis infest the platform these days. But me? I go check out #BadBookIdeas. Two of my Twitter friends are responsible for the resurging popularity of the hashtag and they occasionally have duels that always result in a spike of people Tweeting. It’s a great place to go for ideas. You shouldn’t use the ideas other people are posting because that’s kind of rude, but they have pun titles usually and they do a great job of getting you thinking about quick little stories. Participating is also great practice for coming up with stories ideas for your own use, so check it out and try it out!
Take some time away from your screen, typewriter, or notebook. Walks are great, but sometimes you just need to center yourself. Your mind needs to be tidied up every so often, just like the place you live, and the best way to do that is some kind of non-specific writing or expression. Maybe have an open-ended philosophical discussion with your friends. Maybe draw something or make some non-word based art. Maybe write a poem. Maybe do a little writing in your journal. Maybe meditate. You’ve got a lot of options and I’m sure you know which will work best for you. Don’t continue to push yourself when the words won’t come. Take a break, tidy up, and get your mind in order. This doesn’t mean play video games, read, or watch TV. You need to take the time to intentionally order your mind. Get things out of it. Put some of it away. All of that. It’s not always easy and it’s not always possible, but there’s usually benefit to it. I’m planning to do a bunch of it after I leave work today since I’ve been putting it off all week. I’m going to make a phone call, have a good cry about this week, and then clean up my mind. Maybe then I’ll actually be able to write what happened in my life.
Anyway, this is a bit beside the point. Take the time to reflect on what’s in your head because that’s where the stories come from. You need to clean it up and care for it if you want to keep producing. Sometimes that means not accomplishing the goals you set for yourself, but that’s okay. Your mind is your best tool and it’ll work better once you’ve put some work into caring for it.