Day 52 – Cut yourself some slack

Day fifty-two of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 300

Yes, that is correct. I only wrote 300 words today. For several reasons, I have decided I really need to get to bed at a decent hour tonight and I am therefore cutting it off early. I can pick it up again tomorrow with hopefully more spring in my step and more creativity at my fingertips.

It is hard to let things go sometimes. I have ideals about how much I would like to write each day, but sometimes, they aren’t realistic. Rather than feel like a failure for not reaching my short-term goals, I choose to cut myself some slack. We all need to do that. It is so much easier to punish ourselves instead, but where does that get us? Nowhere. And quite frankly, that just doesn’t work for me. I’m on a mission to make progress every day. This train isn’t stopping. Anything that tries to get in the way of my progress has no place here.

Self-loathing, discouragement, cynicism and all the other progress-halting factors, self-imposed or otherwise, can go find some other place to loiter. I have found that these things dissipate the moment I cut myself some much needed slack, and the train chugs on. Because any amount of writing, even just 300 words, is progress.

Day 51 – Time to consult with an expert

Day fifty-one of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,000

Although I didn’t sit down to write until late tonight, I spent many moments during the day thinking about my story. Specifically, I thought about some of the technical content I need to write and how overwhelming I am finding it to do on my own. I don’t have a sufficient knowledge base to accurately and realistically write it into the story, and since it is crucial information for the plot I really need to obtain the knowledge to write it. Which brings me to the conundrum of when and how I will do this.

I first need to spend some time doing research by simply reading up on the topic. I figured that would be necessary before I even started writing this book. What I didn’t count on is that in order to most accurately portray the topic in my story such that it is compelling and believable to the reader, I think I need to consult with at least one expert. This task seems both exciting and daunting. It is daunting because I have no idea how I’m going to find the time to not only find an expert willing to consult with me (for free, no less) but also to interview them effectively for this purpose. How to conduct such an interview is an unknown for me.

I have interviewed and consulted with many people in my day job, but I have never done so for the purpose of writing a novel. How will an expert receive such an interview? What is the best way to approach this? How much of my story do I need to share with the expert to obtain the right information? And the scariest possibility: What if the expert tells me that the overall idea I have fabricated for the plot of my story is total bunk? I guess the latter is good for me to find out now rather than after I’ve spent a year writing a complete failure of a novel, but the possibility of finding that out at all is terrifying.

I suppose the idea of consulting with an expert is daunting to me in general because it will be the first person to offer some hard feedback about my story. As someone who is working toward publishing her first novel after closet writing for years – writing only for myself and sharing very little with anyone – this is new territory. And it scares the hell out of me.