Day 191 – Enjoying the read

Day one hundred ninety-one of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Well, that was fun. I read the rest of Chapter 1 and all of Chapter 2 tonight, and I really enjoyed the read. I wanted to get into Chapter 3 too, but decided to save it for tomorrow since it is so late.

I have to remind myself that the purpose of the first read-through is nothing more than that: a read-through. No revising. No re-writing. Just reading. I’m not going to lie. It isn’t easy. But it is necessary and should be worthwhile for when I get into it a second time.

As I was reading, there were plenty of moments when I wanted to make revisions. Even cringe-worthy ones when I couldn’t believe I used an adverb here, or used redundant language there. I had to work hard to scrape up some restraint during those moments. But after a while I got lost in the story and just read.

That’s a good sign.

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Day 126 – Chocolate and coffee carry the day

Day one hundred twenty-six of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 2,000

Today was a gray Sunday afternoon, the kind that calls for curling up on the couch under a blanket with a good book, dozing off to sleep in a lazy haze. This morning I promised myself that once my kids and I returned from hockey and the littlest was down for her nap, I was going to write. Oh, did I want to break that promise. I was already saying in my mind, I don’t want to do this. It would have been so easy to listen to that.

I didn’t. Instead, I made myself a cup of coffee and grabbed some chocolate. I set both down next to my laptop and opened it. Let’s do this, I thought. So I did. As I sipped my coffee and nibbled my chocolate (one of my favorite combinations), I wrote more in one sitting than I have in a while. And it felt great. It had a lot to do with sugar and caffeine, but it also had to do with the feeling one gets when they push themselves through adversity to accomplish something. The adversity was my own lack of motivation. It had no chance against sugar and caffeine sprinkled with dedication and empowerment. I don’t want to do this turned into let’s do this and finally, yeah, I did this.

I’ll be honest. My ongoing dedication to write every day and the personal empowerment I harness to make things happen weren’t enough on their own today. Without a doubt, chocolate and coffee carried the day.

Day 88 – Write even when you don’t want to

Day eighty-eight of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,000

If it weren’t for this writing project, I would have skipped writing today. It’s not that I didn’t want to write, but the idea of trying to get a decent amount accomplished wasn’t appealing to me. I told myself to just start writing and if all I got done was a sentence, that would still be more than I would have done if I skipped altogether.

I sat down to write (after getting kids to bed and cleaning the kitchen) and felt uninspired. I told myself to just open the file on my computer and then open the document, which was Chapter 11. Once I did that, getting down the first few words wasn’t all that hard. Then I had a few sentences. Eventually, I had over 1,000 words written. And this is precisely why I started my 365 Day Writing Project.

Sometimes, you just need to force yourself to write. Get over the hump. Get past that first hurdle and the rest will come.

Day 74 – Overcoming my greatest roadblock

Day seventy-four of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 700

On Twitter today @DIYauthor posted the following tweet:

What problem with writing was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Undoubtedly, I have experienced many roadblocks to writing and writing well. But the greatest? That’s a no-brainer. The number one roadblock for me has always been finding time to write. At least that was the case until 74 days ago. Hence, the overcoming part.

I replied that My 365 Day Writing Project was how I overcame that roadblock. The simple act of replying to that tweet was yet another affirmation of this journey I am on. That what I am doing is not only working, it is casting forth benefits and personal victories I never imagined. Writing every day has produced rewards within rewards, delivered in perpetuity like little treasures inside Matryoshka dolls.

Is finding time to write still a challenge for me? Yes. And it will probably continue to be a challenge for me until I can quit my day job. At least now I know how to overcome it if it blocks my road to successful writing again. Because of this project, I’m doing it. I’m finding time to write every day.

Follow me on Twitter: @NeverB

Day 67 – Let it happen. Don’t force it.

Day sixty-seven of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 800

I found the opportunity to write for a while during the late morning today. It was a short stint but I thoroughly enjoyed the clarity of thought that I experienced. It was quite a change from the late nights spent writing through exhaustion, especially lately. Although I had to stop before I really got into the swing, it was not before I drummed up a new idea for the scene I was writing. Again, I found myself reaching new angles I would not have reached had I not let things evolve organically. Let it happen. Don’t force it.

If you are at all like me – someone with Type A tendencies – you know how difficult that is to do. The best part is that it is all the more freeing. It takes a lot of gumption and self-control to let things develop as they will. But it gets a writer thinking, and when something good and unexpected comes from having less control, the benefits outweigh whatever discomfort the writer may feel. I think I’ll try it more often.

Day 60 – Writing every day for two months really adds up

Day sixty of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,050

TWO MONTH TALLY: 63,335 words (approx.)

Hooray for another milestone! When I think about all of the writing I have done the last 60 days, I’m very pleased with my progress. I did some quick math. I have written approximately 63,335 words over the last 60 days. That means I have averaged about 1,055 words per day.* That’s progress I have only dreamed of making in the past. Now, I’m making it. Real, verified progress. And man, does it feel good.

I’m a little stunned at seeing these numbers in black and white, actually. I have never written this much or this often in my life, and to experience how it affects me is eye-opening. I’m happier. I have a more positive outlook. I’m tired from the late nights yet energized to keep at it. I’m less stressed, less obsessive-compulsive, less serious. I’m more inspired, more creative, more caring of myself. I’m daydreaming on a daily basis, which is surprisingly good for my soul. I’m a better version of myself, and while I know I have a long way to go to reach my goals, I have never been more certain about what I am meant to do with my life. After 60 days of progress, I know that I am going to do it.

I am looking forward to writing for the next 305 days and the progress that’s in store for me.

*Note: These numbers only represent the writing I do for my book. They do not include the writing I have done on this blog. I would guess that each of my blog posts is around 250-500 words, so really I’m probably averaging around 1,350 per day.

Day 47 – Weekend writing challenge #2

Day forty-seven of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Time: 45 mins

Words: 300

After a slow night of writing, I have decided to launch another Weekend Writing Challenge for myself. The challenge is to write a minimum of 5,000 words on Saturday and Sunday combined. We have a very busy weekend planned, but I’m going to try like hell to find some longer stretches of time to write. And hopefully, that time will be during daylight hours so I can get to bed at a decent hour and sleep.

If anyone else wants to join me in setting a challenge for the weekend, announce it here so you can put it out into the Universe. I’d say that about half of he motivation to write comes from having some accountability. Just get it out there and you will believe that someone will be checking on Sunday to see how you did. Even if no one actually is. Set your goal for 5,000 words (or whatever # you want) and tally up the totals on Sunday, end of the day.

Day 38 – Unproductive and uninspired can still amount to something

Day thirty-eight of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Time: 40 minutes

Words: 500

Today was not a very productive writing day. I guess I’ll have those sometimes. It was tough to pick up the story where I left off because I wasn’t sure where I wanted to take it. I also got a very late start which did not help. Exhaustion was thick. Motivation and creativity were thin. After very little time I realized that I’m probably better off breaking and picking it up again tomorrow.

Despite it being a short and uninspiring writing session, it wasn’t all for naught. It isn’t anything special, but in the interests of reminding myself later that even the tough days are worthwhile, here is a paragraph I wrote a little while ago:

Mike looked around one last time and pushed open the back door. In the low, late afternoon sun he stepped out onto the street. The frigid air turned his breath into small, white puffs of cloud, prompting him to button up his coat. As he did, he noticed the long, ominous shadows cast by the nearby buildings. It was getting late. He looked left and right, at a loss for where Skylar and Ben would have gone. About four hours had passed since they had been there; they could be anywhere. Mike walked back to the door of the restaurant and turned around to face the street again. Imagining himself fleeing from someone, he tried to figure out which direction they might have run. He took off straight and then turned to the left, jogging down the sidewalk. Seeing all of the buildings and intersecting side streets ahead of him, he stopped. It was no use.

Day 32 – When you just aren’t into it

Day thirty-two of My 365 Day Writing Project

Time: 50 min.

Words: 850

I didn’t feel like writing at all today. In fact, I really wanted to blow it off and go to bed early. I didn’t. I made myself stay up late and I wrote. Discipline. Always reminding myself: No days off

Sometimes I can’t stop thinking about the story I am writing. No matter what I am doing – taking a shower, eating lunch, busy at work, in the car singing with my kids – I want to work on the story. I want to keep it developing on paper, not just in my mind. I want to write. I can’t wait for the opportunity to sit down, uninterrupted, to work on it. I look forward to banging out my thoughts through the tapping keys of my laptop. I want to write. I can feel it in my bones. My imagination is bulging like a balloon with too much air in it, about to POP. My psyche is crowded and loud and hyperactive like a subway station, thoughts and words and ideas blowing in and out of tunnels like the trains. I want to write.

Today was just not one of those times. But I wrote anyway.

 

Day 28 – no challenge for the weekend

Day twenty-eight of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Time: 35 mins

Words: 400

Last weekend’s writing challenge proved to be a successful strategy for me. I wrote 5,600 words and felt great about it. This weekend, I chose to not impose a challenge. I didn’t want to because it was the last weekend of my kids’ summer vacation. It was busy and full.

It was the right decision because the weather all weekend was amazing and my family and I had a great time. The downside is that I did not find much time to write. Sometimes my weekends are as busy, if not busier, than my week days. That means less writing time. But it also means that I can try to make up for a slow writing weekend with a solid writing week. Here’s to Monday.