Day 365 – That’s a wrap

Day three hundred sixty-five of my 365 Day Writing Project.

That’s right – Day 365.

Here I am where I began one year ago. When I think about it over the span of 365 days, I realize how far I have come. How different a writer I am at Day 365 compared to Day 1. I owe much of my growth to this project, which was a challenge since the first day. As I have found in other areas of my life, most challenges are worthwhile. This was no exception.

I knew from the outset that a blog devoted to a year-long writing project would be bland or at the very least lacking excitement. It was never about some gimmick to attract an audience or get attention. It was always about my development as a writer and forming life-long writing habits I know are essential to reaching my goals.

It was difficult to put myself out there while doing something that was so important to me. Each blog post was published in a swirl of mixed feelings about sharing my journey publicly. But I knew I needed some accountability to keep focused. Whether or not they were aware of it, my followers kept me on track and I’m grateful for that.

I’m thrilled to say I’ve accomplished what I had hoped for, and beyond. Writing used to be something I did once in a while. It passed through my thoughts as, “Maybe I’ll write about that someday.” But since I developed the discipline to write almost every day over the last year, my daily thoughts about writing are, “I’m going to write about that.” And then I do. Sometimes I write at that moment and other times within a matter of hours. But I write. I learned to take notes every day. I learned to outline ideas. I learned that I don’t have to actually be writing a chapter of my book to be working on and improving my writing. I can write a paragraph, a sentence, a list. As long as my creativity is being exercised, that is all I need to be doing.

Above all else, I learned over the last 365 days that I am a creative soul. I’m not sure I really knew that before. So while this year-long project has come to an end, I’ll still be writing and learning. Most importantly, I’ll be letting my creativity soar.

Writing. It is what I love to do.

Day 363 – Almost one year

Day three hundred sixty-three of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Wow, I cannot believe I am two days away from one year since this project began. I just returned from vacation – a lovely break from reality, work and family obligations and everyday stresses – during which time I did very little writing. I thought about it a lot, but having afforded myself the opportunity to let go for the first time in many years, I decided to Really. Let. Go. And it was bliss.

Now that I am back I am ready to jump into writing again. I’m quite excited about it, especially since the timing of the end of this project is serendipitous. It is now time to expand my blogging horizons. I am ready to devote this blog to nothing in particular, and everything in theory. With the 365 Day Writing Project about to end, I feel inspired to have the freedom to just write what I want to write. And so I will. Soon.

Day 307 – A snippet from my second book

Day three hundred seven of my 365 Day Writing Project.

In the midst of writing my second book, I’m having a good time. The first draft of my first book is resting. I need more distance from it to be able to do a proper re-write. So it rests, and I write. As I fling myself into the throes of a second book, I have found a completely different voice. It has been fun to explore.

I decided it’s time to share a bit. I gave the first beta-read of this snippet to my seven year-old son. That may be the smartest thing I have done in a while. Well, you be the judge:

I was a young girl once. I remember it. Well, parts of it anyway. I remember the sky was a brighter blue than it ever looks to me now, even on its most beautiful days. I remember the grass smelled so sweet in the summer, my best friend Bea and I came up with the idea of the sweet grass lollipop. We loved that smell so much we just knew it would be the most delicious lollipop we’d ever have. Like too many childhood dreams, it never came to be. But it was sure fun to talk about. I remember climbing trees and skinning my jeans on the rough bark, making my mama so mad I thought she’d tan my hide to purple. She didn’t. She sewed patches on my jeans instead.

I remember playing ball with the boys and running just as fast as them, hitting the ball just as hard. My mama yelled from the front porch, “be careful!” and “don’t get so filthy!” None of the other moms ever yelled those things at the boys.

I remember being sprawled out on the front yard, looking up at the clouds, dreaming about all the things I could do someday. You know, someday when I was a grown-up. I could be an astronaut, or a chef, or own a candy store – the first ever to sell sweet grass lollipops, of course. My mama told me I could be a teacher or a nurse someday. My daddy agreed. “Those are fine choices,” he’d say. “Fine choices for girls.”

Day 280 – Know what you need to do, and do it

Day two hundred eighty of my 365 Day Writing Project.

It has been too long since I last posted. As you might have surmised, I have not been writing every day. I have let myself get overrun by other time-suckers and responsibilities. Lately my life has been far more busy than it should be, mostly due to my day job. But that is no excuse. I let it take over. I let it cross boundaries I set two hundred and eighty days ago. I set those boundaries so I could find time to write every day and make it a daily routine. Like brushing my teeth.

I got brilliant at it, actually. It’s time to get that brilliance back. I know what I need to do, and I know how to do it: find time to write and write every day. I have fiddled with writing a little here and a little there over the last two weeks, so luckily, my writing mindset is still present. I just need to get back to setting those boundaries to make sure I have time to write every day. Like I did tonight and will do again tomorrow.

Day 237 – Am I in revising hell?

Day two hundred thirty-seven of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Am I in revising hell? Some days it feels like I am because in all honesty, I’d rather be writing. Writing is an exercise that allows one to stretch her legs and push herself to her limits, pulse a-ticking and mind a-blaze. Revising is…well, to me revising feels like the equivalent of the timer watching the clock on the sidelines, starting and stopping play.

It’s no wonder, then, that I have not been inclined to blog as often while in this revision phase. Motivation has been waning and I have not been spending as much daily time on my book like I was when I was writing. Is there something I can do to make this revision phase better? Does anyone have tips on how to make it more enjoyable than it actually is?

Day 182 – Six month milestone!

Day one hundred eighty-two of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words for Days 180, 181 and 182: 1,900

Well, folks. Good news. I have reached the halfway point of my 365 Day Writing Project. Consider my mind blown. This is my biggest milestone yet, and I’m mystified…elated…inspired…satisfied…proud. When I started this Project last July, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it. Write every day. Blog often. Finish writing a book. All with the goal to eventually publish my first book.

With full-time jobs as a lawyer and mom to three young kids, I knew it was going to be a huge challenge. So far, I have been doing it. I have made time to write and have been writing every day. I have been blogging often. I’m about to finish the first draft of my manuscript. I am working toward my goals one step at a time. But the purpose of this Project goes far beyond writing every day. It is about forming a strong foundation of habits and practices to become a successful writer. It is about the daily practice of self-discipline, commitment and consistent, hard work. Having accomplished this much in six months’ time, I have zero doubt that I will do everything I set out to do.

Over the last six months I have made some meaningful contacts here in the WordPress community and beyond, and I am grateful for all of them. Many of you have given me words of encouragement and support, and have welcomed me into a kind of communal knowledge base that is invaluable. You are all helping me become a better writer. I can’t thank you enough.

I will continue for another six months, and more. I hope you stick around with me. I may be halfway through the Project, but really, this is just the beginning.

Day 91 – Three month milestone

Day ninety-one of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 2,000 (For days 89, 90 and 91)

Yesterday was Day 90, when three months should have been celebrated. But I have been taking some time off on the weekends – not time off from writing, but time off from posting an entry on this blog – so celebrating yesterday was out of the question. I figured I would catch up and celebrate this milestone today.

Unfortunately, we received some horrible news about a good friend today. The last thing I feel like doing is celebrating. So I’ll just keep this short: I have been doing the 365 Day Writing Project for over 90 days. I have been writing regularly and learning more about writing than I ever imagined. What I am most proud of, however, is sticking to this challenge to write every day for all these months. And I’m still going.

Day 78 – Happily chugging along

Day seventy-eight of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 3,500 (Fri-Mon)

I haven’t had a blog post for a few days but I have still been writing. It was a busy holiday weekend with friends and family visiting from out of town, which made it more challenging to find time to write. I’m happy to say that I did. I took a break from posting on my blog because sometimes the time I spend here interferes with the time I want to spend writing my book. So it was a welcome break from the blog.

Here I am, back again. After 78 days, I am still happily chugging along writing my novel, enjoying the story as it develops. It has been interesting to make so much progress, because I think about what I have written so far and am able to recognize how much work I still have ahead of me. Not only writing the rest of the book, but also the work that will be necessary after the first draft is done. I know it is going to require a ton of time and effort to edit, re-write and shape what I have written into the novel I have been envisioning. And yet, I am prepared for it to turn into something different too.

I find the idea of what I must do to create an end product both terrifying and exciting. I do love a challenge. However, I will readily admit that I have never before undertaken a challenge born from my own blood, tears, ambitions and dreams. This is it. Because it is so, I am as invested in the process as I have ever been. I am deliberately mindful of, and therefore enjoying, each part of the process. Which is why I happily chug along even when I know the road ahead is sure to be rife with difficulty. I’m ready.

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 59 – Keeping the faith when the odds are against you

Day fifty-nine of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 500

I have been doing quite a bit of reading around the WordPress community lately, checking out some pretty fabulous and interesting blogs by fellow writers. While I embrace the fact that I’m a newbie in this role of writer/blogger, I am amazed at how talented many of these writers are. They make me strive to do better.

The best thing about being part of an interesting community like this is that there is so much encouragement and inspiration to be shared. Seriously, you can’t beat it. Every single day I get a shot of adrenaline here. The worst part is that I am gravely aware of how much I lack compared to so many others. I’m not published (at least not on the scale I want to be). My blog is basic and needs a major makeover. I’m not networked enough. I’m lousy at marketing myself. And the most difficult: I don’t have enough time to put a decent amount of effort into any of those things.

I tell myself that it doesn’t matter; I should compare myself to no one. I should only be concerned with my own strides and accomplishments, that when mashed all together illustrate my journey to reach my dream of becoming a professional writer. I’m in the depths of this journey with millions of miles to go, but because of this blog and my 365 Day Writing Project, I’m realizing gains ten-fold compared to what I was doing a year ago. I am writing every day. And I have no intention of stopping until I realize my dream.

The odds are against me. Just like they are against so many of my fellow writers out there. But we must keep at it anyway. We must look beyond the odds to focus on our personal goals and what the future has in store for us. While I continue to work on doing that, I just want to say: Thanks for the encouragement. Thanks for the inspiration. And thanks for making me strive to do better.