365: Day Something or other

February is drawing to a close, and while I haven’t been writing every day, I’ve been writing more days than not. Slowly but surely.

The trick has really been restructuring my life (and in a very literal case, my living room). I committed to making space for my writing, and while it was a bumpy start, I’m finally starting to see the real change I was looking for.

It also doesn’t hurt that I’ve made other commitments to friends that make me get up earlier every day.

So work on Asylum is moving steadily forward, I’m getting back into the groove of someone who’s words come easily, and I’m all around happier with my life cause I feel like I’m getting somewhere. It’s really nice.

I still don’t know what I want to do with Asylum when it’s ready. I’ve opened up the draft to beta readers, who are keeping my interest level up, but I really have no clue what I’ll do when it’s done. Query? E-publish? Run it as a serial again? I just don’t know. But it’s getting written, and at this point, that’s what matters.

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Raevenly Rambles: January something something goals

So this month… It was a thing that happened.

I’ve been ill, out of town, on a funky work schedule, and subject to a smattering of T.A.W. (Truly Awful Weather). I’ve gotten some writing done, but it’s a FAR cry from the writing every day goal I set for myself.

The nice thing about setting a year long goal is that falling on my face in January doesn’t mean automatic failure. My true goal is to become someone who writes every day. This month taught me some things I need to overcome to do that.

  • I don’t write well when I’m tired after work. I HAVE to write before work, or it just becomes a chore and I’ll slowly grow to hate it.
  • I don’t always have the luxury of writing before work, because sometimes I start at 11 or midnight, sometimes they fuck me over and I start at 8. I am not in control of that (though believe you me, there’s A LOT about my current work schedule I’m going to bat against. This shit has gotten out of control. But that’s a whole other deal, and has little to do with my writing.)
  • I don’t like to write first thing in the morning if I do that jarred-from-a-deep-sleep wake up. When I just come to life naturally, writing when I first wake up is pretty much my favorite thing. When I’m a groggy, caffeine deprived monster, the best I can do is stumble to the pot and play on my phone until I feel human enough to take the dog out.
  • I don’t like to write on anything but a full keyboard. Phones and tablets just aren’t fast enough.
  • I don’t like to take the laptop from girlfriend when she’s writing. So if she’s writing, I just don’t write.

So that’s a long list of things that start with “I don’t”. That makes sense. I didn’t write much this month. This month taught me about things that don’t work. Now that I know what they are, I can take steps. I can make sure we get to bed early, so we get up early (Hard to do when the work schedule is so erratic, but again, steps). I can get a keyboard attachment for the tablets, so we both have access to keyboards. If we’re both writing, we’ll both work towards going to bed early, and not watching as much T.V., and not playing on our phones so damned much (GF is MUCH better about this than I. She’s also written like 20k more words than I have this month. Because, ya know, she’s made writing time. And not dicked around on her phone.)

Girlfriend has proposed a writing challenge, word count for word count, and I feel like a jerk for declining. I know her competitive spirit is a great personal motivator, and it’s just not for me. I know I can write, so I don’t feel like I have to prove it. But maybe for me, it could be less like competing, and more like having a gym buddy. I like gym buddies. And I like writing. I just forget to structure my life around it like I always mean to.

So that’s where January has been. I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts and refocusing my energy on spiritual well-being since things have gotten me so worn down. I guess that’s just winter for you. *shrugs*

So GOALS! I need to re-set my bar, since every day isn’t working as well as I’d like. It’s only defeat if you give up! I’m going to take a more realistic approach, knowing that I won’t do something I don’t enjoy, or feels like giving something up (even if I want the reward). So I get 1 episode of Brooklyn 99 a day (or the Good Place, or whatever I decide to watch when I’ve eaten through those), and then for every episode I watch beyond that, I spend an equal amount of time writing. That should help break the binge cycle, which is a large part of what keeps me up after work. Sounds reasonable! Come on, February! Let’s do this!

365: Week 1

Week 1, over all, have been a success. Day 3 had zero writing in it, but otherwise I’ve written something everyday. Not always stories, or usuable fiction, but just stringing words together  everyday makes it easier to string words together when I actually do work on publishable pieces.

And I don’t feel bad about missing a day. Days with work meetings mean I literally wake up, go to the meeting, work a full shift, then come home and go right to bed. I could have found some time in there, but there are always days that just take all your spoons no matter what. I didn’t let it get me down, and putting words on paper nearly every day is working just as I’d hoped. 🙂

(Most of that writing has been in back and forth emails with my writing buddy, and my laptop has been fussy with the internet, so I have no idea how many words I’ve written, but they’re there, and I’m happy.)

365: Day 2

I didn’t expect set backs to happen quite this early. :/

Day 2 has already been a whirlwind of emotions: guilt, defeat, determination, indifference–almost like I’ve tried to do this too many times before. But recovering from this headspace is what keeps writers going after their billionth rejection letter, so I consider this good practice.

The thing to do on days like this is write for no reason. Find a good prompt generator you like, whether its free write style, or situation suggestions, or those write a story with X, Y, and Z in it. Just keep the words going. You’ll be glad you did.

Today I scraped out 650 words. Yesterday was just under 1800. I like yesterday better because it had some content, but today’s was actually more productive, if that makes any sense. And I found a goal, so, yay!

I started 365 to make myself write every day. Literally every day. I didn’t give it any more parameters than that, no word counts, no conditions. Just write EVERY day. I can do that. Anyone can do that. I even gave myself permission to write “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE” over and over again.

I think I finally have some parameters for this project.

Write, one page, every day. Doesn’t matter how many paragraphs, how much space I take up with breaks, just hitting at least a page every day. Word count is fun to track, hell to keep up with. But a page? I can pull off a page. I can write at least one page of nothing every day. Totally easy.

(The thing is, I’m not proving to myself I can write one page of words every day. I’m proving to myself that I can set goals and actually keep them. I do myself such a disservice, justifying my way out of my goals all the time. Today I had baking to do, tomorrow will an extra long day at work. It’s always easy to find reason why I can’t. It’s harder to find reasons why I can.)

365: Day 1

Alright, the Void is over. Christmas is officially past, “The Holidays” are through, I am out of excuses. I am exhausted. I am hung over, in a spiritual way.

I am motivated to restart.

I have thought a lot about what my voice is, my point, my purpose. I have thought a lot about nothing, and about everything. I have thought a lot about writing.

I want to set goals. Big, soaring, lofty things that can be broken down into smaller, more achievable bitesizes. I want to say things like “This is year I get published. This is the year I get my first rejection letter. This is the year I write my first query letter.”

But I don’t want to put my dreams on the pile. Saying things like that, it’s a death sentence. I don’t want this to be another year I Just tootle away, having fun writing, and never going anywhere with it, because I set Goals(TM) and burn out on my joy.

I want this year to have Joy.

And I want to write. Everyday.

I will not want to write everyday, but I want to write every. day. This year, I will set that small goal, and I will achieve it. I will write. Every. Day.

So this is day 1. Day one sound pretty good. Day two will also sound probably pretty fine. Day 3, my weekend is over. Back to work.

Day 26 I expect to be bad, because I expect to have missed some days by then. So I am stopping day 26 NOW.

I am enlisting the help of several friends, a handful of strangers, and good people of the internet who like helping. Talk to me. Ask me about my writing. Ask me what I’ve written today.

I will queue. I will reblog. I will tweet, post, save drafts and otherwise harass myself into writing everyday.

Because I like the way it feels. I like the way my brain works when its saturated in words. I like the authenticity of my voice when I let it out, let it really happen. Give it room to breathe.

I like being a writer who writes every day.

I don’t like writing every day. I like to be lazy. I like to give myself time off. But I like the pudding of getting shit done better. And–and this is the lie we all forget–there is always time for lazy. I can have lazy, AND be a writer that writes every day, if I just don’t put it off.

I’m getting up at 7, every day. That’s 7 at night for those of you following along at home. I am setting an every day alarm for 7 at night, and I am setting a second one for 8. I am allowed one hour of dicking around, of making coffee and playing on Tumblr and letting my dog out to pee. And then I am writing. Even if it is seven days in a row of

I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE

because I know that of that boredom a phoenix arises. I am easily bored. I am a bored human. I cannot write seven days of “I don’t know what to write” without writing SOMETHING else out of sheer desperation.

So I guess that’s what to expect. Every day at 8 or 9 or 10 or so, there will be a page with “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE” scrolled across it in terrifyingly thick bold letters. Or there will be something wonderful, or something awful. Either way, there will be something.

And I will be happier for it.

Taking this seriously, results

So, it’s been about a month since I decided to start logging my writing hours, and here’s what I’ve found:

  • In a good week, I can put in 10-12 hours of work on drafting, editing/re-writing, blog posts/formatting, and promotion work.
  • Rougher weeks merit 1-2 hours at best, tons of guilt I can’t shake at worst. Heavier on the web stuff over actually writing/editing.
  • Average weeks, I hit 3-5 hours all together, hitting 500-1k words, unless I have a strangely good writing day.
  • None of this counts time spent daydreaming, world building, and otherwise mentally wandering Asylum.

So yeah. I suck XD

That’s harsh, but that’s how it feels. I spend so much of my time falling asleep/waking up due to working nights. It’s hard to write when you’re groggy, and it’s hard not to be groggy when you sleep twice a day. So the real thing I’ve learned is that I’ve got to do something about my sleep schedule. No idea how yet, but there it is. If I want to take this seriously, something’s gotta give.

The Write State of Mind: April

Despite the relative blog-o-sphere silence, I’ve been getting a lot done lately. Real life has been  CRAZY, but that’s sent me fleeing into the pages of Asylum for some much needed R&R. There’s something peaceful about impose ordering on the chaos that is Asylum’s first draft, the illusion of actually being in control (as if my characters would ever actually listen to me. It’s a nice lie, however).

In addition to that, we’ve picked back up progress on Cirque du Vols, so with any luck, we’ll have our second completed novel under our belts soon. Wouldn’t that just be something?

Editing is finally starting to feel like a sustainable process, instead of just something we do in fits and bursts. I think we’ve gotten the head of steam we need under our belts to make releasing Asylum a reality instead of a distant goal. Still not sure on the exact ETA, but it seems more attainable than it ever has before.

So keep checking back, and hopefully we’ll be in the Read State of Mind soon.